These past few days a group of pastors has gathered at Cannon Beach for a Prayer Retreat. It’s something I look forward to every year. In fact, I posted the comment that there’s “’nothing better than prayer!” I really believe that!
Here’s a fact: God wants prayer to be a priority in your lives. To “pray” is one of the most commonly mentioned commands in Scripture. Paul when he wrote Timothy said this… “The first thing I want you to do is pray” 1 Timothy 2:1 (Msg). He also wrote to the church in Colossians each of us is to “Devote yourselves to prayer…” Colossians 4:2 (NIV). Another time he said that we are to “pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV).
Nothing is better than prayer because…
- Prayer is relying on God.
We live in a self-sufficient culture that values independent thinking and living. Prayer is the opposite of doing things by ourselves. Prayer is relying on God.
I love Paul’s admission to his own insecurities: “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).
One of the greatest barriers to prayer is our own independence, our own self-reliance. The reason we find it so hard to pray is that prayer requires that we rely on God, rather than ourselves. This is counter-cultural!
Nothing is better than prayer because, when we pray, we are saying, “God, I need you! I am coming to you because I depend on you!”
- Prayer is relating with God.
You can’t know someone without being with them. That’s true of friendship, of marriage, of business, anywhere! You must spend time together to know each other. That’s also true with God. Prayer is the way we spend time with God.
Here’s God’s invitation: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 (NKJV)
God desires our fellowship. He wants us to spend time with Him. The more we love God, the more we’ll delight in being with Him. How much do you love God? How much time do with you spend with Him?
I remember in college having a very brief conversation with Billy Graham. I was awestruck! But, I was also convicted. Talking with Billy Graham was wonderful, but it is nothing compared to talking with God. Prayer is our highest privilege as a human being!
Nothing is better than prayer because prayer is a chance to be with God!
- Prayer is requesting of God.
God wants us to talk to him about our needs!! Praying is turning our needs upward, to God!
The other day at our retreat we focused on this verse from Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers” (TLB). I wonder why it’s so easy to worry and so difficult to pray.
Over 20 times in the New Testament we are asked to ask!! God designed it that way.
Nothing is better than prayer because prayer is the way we ask God to meet our needs.
- Prayer is responding to God.
Ultimately prayer is a response to God. Someone said that prayer is not us giving God orders, it is reporting for duty. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10 (NLT).
When we pray we are saying, “God, I want your will to be done!” When we pray we are submitting to God and His will.
If you were to search through the New Testament for things God did that were not tied to prayer. Do you know what you’d find? Nothing. Everything God does in the work of ministry He does through prayer.
BEFORE YOU GO…
Yes, nothing is better than prayer, but if you are like me, you don’t pray enough. I want to depend more on God and less on myself. So, why is prayer important for you?