Have you ever had a one-sided friendship? You know what I am talking about. It’s the friend that you love, but you know more about them than they truly know about you. You are the one always asking about their life and investing in the relationship. They are there, but they are often most interested because the friendship benefits them. Many times they are absolutely clueless that it is even one-sided. How sad is it that, without prayer, our relationship with God is one-sided!
God knows us intimately. Prayer is our opportunity to respond to him, to allow him to be present and engage with us. Let’s be real: God is God. He knows all things, is over all things, and carries the world in his hands. He could bend us into submission. He could even force us to choose him, but that is not who he is. God created us for relationship. He wired us that way. We are blessed with the ability to walk through life with one another, and God gave us the incredible gift of relationship with him first. Prayer makes that possible.
I come from a family of believers. I grew up with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who led out in church. It wasn’t foreign to hear any of them pray in our home, among our family, or at church. Learning how to pray can often seem intimidating when we listen to the prayers of others. I know it seemed that way for me. I think one of the best things I was ever told was to just share what was on my heart and talk to God as if he were physically present. The most amazing thing is that God knows what is weighing on my heart, but he wants me to trust him with it. He wants to hear from me. There is a verse in an old hymn that says, “Oh what peace we often forfeit! Oh what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” I want his peace, the peace that passes understanding, as well as his unspeakable joy, to be what anchors my soul. So, it is up to me to come to him and lay it all at his feet.
God’s desire is to be my number one. He wants to be who I come to with my victories, my burdens, my irritations, my crazy ideas, the random happenings of my day and thoughts inside my head, the people in my life, the things that make me sad, and the things that make my heart smile. I feel so very blessed to have a core group of people in my life that I can share just about anything with. They know me — all of me — the good and not so great. God has given them to me, but they do not come close to knowing me the way God does. Prayer opens me up to give everything to Jesus, to know him deeper, to love him more, and to trust him beyond comprehension. God misses us when we don’t choose to come to him, but it doesn’t change that he is God. That being said, when my prayer life and ultimate walk with God is lacking, my life is weighed down, and I am failing to live the life God has designed for me. Mot only am I missing out, I am not really living.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 ESV
And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he’s listening.
— 1 John 5:14 MSG
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
— Psalm 145:18 NIV
Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.
— Jeremiah 33:3 MSG