Effective Prayer Life | The Tough Questions

Why Should I Pray? The Importance of Prayer

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My prayer life is the most frustrating part of my walk with God.

Some weeks — or days or minutes — I feel like I’m #killingit.  I pray for others. I pray with power. I keep the vertical conversation going throughout the day.  I feel closer to God when I’m done.

But on other days…oh, those other days.  When my words won’t come. When my prayers feel anemic or inadequate or stale.  On those days, I feel like giving up on prayer. So what is the importance of prayer?

On those days, I wonder at the importance of prayer.

Can you relate?

Perhaps, like me, you give up on those days.  Only to come back the next day — or week or month — and try again.  Out of desperation for a situation gone wrong. Or thanksgiving for a situation gone right.  Or out of the parched dryness in your soul. Your gasping thirst for God.

At some point, we find out that we just can’t stay away from prayer.  No matter how often we feel like we fail at it.

But why?  What makes it so essential to us?  Why do we keep coming back to prayer, no matter what?

What’s the importance of prayer in our lives? Why is prayer important?

The Importance Of Prayer: An Analogy

Do you have that one friend that you rarely see?  You know the one I mean. You were besties in high school, maybe college.  Back then, you were always together.

Then life happened.  One or both of you moved to a different part of the country, or another country altogether.  You got high-pressure jobs and formed new friendships in your new places.

Now you talk maybe every 3 years.  Not often at all. But when you get together, it’s like slipping into a comfy robe.  And you easily pick up where you left off.

Then when you part ways — perhaps for another 3 years — you come away with a nice glow from having caught up with your friend.

The best part, though, is that neither of you feels pressure or guilt from your long periods of silence.  You don’t have to because you have no such expectations of each other. You simply enjoy being together when you can swing it.

Your friendship is easy and in-the-moment.  It’s mutually convenient, demands nothing of you and makes you effortlessly happy.

I love friendships like this.  Don’t you?

A Not-So-Deep Relationship

But how deep is your friendship with your every-three-years friend, really?

You may want to say, “Really deep.  She knows me better than anyone else.”  But stop and think about it for a few minutes.

Truthfully, has your friendship grown over the months or years since you last spoke or got together?  How can it have grown? You haven’t been through anything together.

And you haven’t been through anything together because you only know about that stuff months after it’s over.  And only know months after it’s over because you only talk every few years.

So, sure, every 3 years you catch up on what’s been going on with each other.  But it’s usually for information and feedback. Even though the relationship makes you feel good, you rarely have an opportunity to grow closer in a meaningful way.

Why?  Because frequent, healthy communication is essential if a relationship is going to grow.

So your relationship with your every-3-years friend is low-effort and makes you happy when you think of each other.  But it’s also likely fairly shallow because you don’t nourish each other regularly.

A Deep Relationship

On the other hand, what about the case of your best friend?  Maybe you also live thousands of miles apart. But you message each other almost every day and frequently send each other videos from your everyday lives.

And at least once a week without fail — if not more often — you call each other for a chat.

On those calls, you catch each other up on all the essential — and not so essential — things happening in your lives.  Even if you’ve texted about it already. Maybe you discuss your past and upcoming weeks in detail. Maybe you encourage each other.  And if you’re true friends, maybe you reality-check each other.

Your bestie has seen your good and bad sides (oh, the bad!).  And she’s still your bestie.

She truly knows you better than any other human being.  Simply because you’re in constant contact, and because you go deep and real with each other regularly.

Why Is Prayer Important?

Prayer is important for one simple reason: your relationship with God can’t grow without it.

Because at its most basic level, prayer is communication between you and God.  Just as talking on the phone, texting, or meeting up for coffee is communication with your bestie.

Prayer is essential in moving our relationship with God forward from a comfortable but vague connection — like the one you have with your every-3-years friend.  All the way to a deep relationship with the One who knows our hearts best…and still loves you anyway!

If you still need convincing, how about 3 really good reasons that highlight the importance of prayer in your walk with God?

3 Reasons That Prayer Is Important

1. God Is Waiting For You

It’s the literal, God’s honest truth.  God is waiting to hear from you.

But don’t take my word for it.  David is the one who said so in Psalm 18:6:

In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help.  From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

The God of the universe, who spoke every created thing into existence, is waiting to hear from you.

That’s how much He wants to be in communication with you.  Now that you know this mind blowing truth, why leave Him hanging?

2. You Can Hear From God

We often think of prayer as us talking to God.  Sharing our burdens and concerns; committing our hopes and dreams; unmasking our pain and confusion.  And it is.

But prayer is also listening.  Jeremiah 33:2-3 says:

Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

When you call to God in prayer, He promises to answer and to reveal things to you.

Even when He seems silent, even it feels like you can’t hear Him, He’s still communicating with you.

3. You Can Avoid Temptation

Ugh!  Temptation.  The bane of our existence.  It’s always lurking in a dark corner, waiting to pounce when you’re idle or tired or low.

No matter how you try to resist it with all your might, it’s all too easy to surrender to it.

But in Matthew 26:40-41, Jesus tells us a better way to avoid it:

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Prayer helps you avoid falling into temptation.

Every 3 Years Or Every Day Friendship?

I admit that I sometimes treat my relationship with God like an every-3-years friendship.  It happens when I get over-busy or frustrated.

It usually sneaks up on me.  I think everything is fine then I suddenly realize that I haven’t spent time talking to Him for several days…or weeks.

Maybe you get that, huh?  And when you realize what’s happened, you probably feel like you have to fix things between you and Him, since you were the one who stopped talking to Him.

Ready for some good news?  You don’t have to fix a thing.

Know why?  Because God is always waiting for you to talk to Him.  No matter how long it’s been, you can easily find Him.  Psalm 145:18 says so:

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

So even though you may have forgotten the importance of prayer, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you last did it.  God is waiting nearby to hear from you again.  Any time.

He wants to hear everything you have to say, all you’re feeling and thinking.  And He wants to talk back to you, too.

He wants it all with you.

Do you want that, too?  Then all you have to do is remember the importance of prayer and put it back into its rightful place.

Talk to God, then listen to what He has to say.

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8 Comments

  1. Beautiful post! I really like the friendship analogy in relations to this post, sometimes I act like the every three year friendship person 🙈 thanks for the reminder that the goal is to keep it friendship booming everyday.

  2. I love the 3-year analogy you shared here. I often think of this when asking if my prayers life is filled with only SOS prayers or am I connecting with God on a deeper, more intimate level. This was such an excellent reminder of how we need to make consistent prayer a part of our lives as we seek to build relationship with our Lord.

    1. I ask myself the same thing. And I wish I remembered to do ask it more often. Because far too often, the answer is SOS instead of intimacy. But God is gracious and is always ready to go as deep as we’ll allow.

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