Growing up I thought that prayer was only what people did before meals or when they were faced with difficult trials. Prayer was very ritualistic for me – I would pray before meals and, occasionally, I would pray if I was struggling with something – and I would do all of these things, without understanding why I felt the need to pray.
Last semester, as I began to grow in my relationship with God I began to learn about the real significance of prayer. I learned that prayer is not a ritual, and is instead, a way of communication, a way of expressing ourselves to our Creator, and a way of deepening our relationship with Him. God wants to have a relationship with us, and in maintaining relationships, communication is extremely important. It is true that He knows what is on our hearts and minds (Luke 16:15 and Psalm 139:2), but He wants us to tell them to Him. God tells us to call upon Him (Luke 18:1-8), He wants us to ask Him questions, He wants us to seek Him with all our hearts, and He wants us to knock so that doors can be opened for us (Matthew 7:7-8). By doing these things we get the best gift of all, which is to know God personally and to have a relationship with Him.
Through prayer, God grows us in our understanding of Him. He shows us how deeply He cares for us and helps us to understand how powerful He truly is. This past year I have had the opportunity to attend several prayer meetings and have even been blessed with the opportunity to lead prayer meetings this semester as well. In doing so, every time we meet with God to pray, I am blown away by the bold prayers that students use to cry out to God. I’ve come to realize that we can humble ourselves before Him and pray such bold, impossible prayers because God is infinitely powerful and nothing we pray is too small for Him.
As Christians, we tend to downplay prayer, often seeing it as the last thing to do rather than the first. In an attempt to encourage one another, we tell each other, “Just pray about it.” We gravely underestimate prayer, its significance, and its power, and, in so doing, we are robbed of the joy that God intended for us to experience through prayer.
It is through prayer that I talk to God, and because I love talking to Him and I love growing in my relationship with Him, I find myself trying to encourage other people to do the same. I want people to experience the joy and love that is intended for us in knowing Him through prayer.