Prayer is probably the most common spiritual discipline. It has to be a top three spiritual discipline for the average Christian, alongside coming to church and reading your bible.
On the surface, it doesn’t seem that complicated. And it shouldn’t be.
When we gather for prayer as a church, we generally hear about a need and pray in agreement while a leader leads the group in prayer. Sometimes, we’ll break into smaller groups to pray for a specific need. We can pray one at a time or all at once.
There’s so much power in coming together for corporate prayer. Jesus encourages this in Matthew 18:19 (ESV):
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
On our own, we can pray out loud, whisper, or pray in our minds.
Publicly or privately, we can pray in our native tongue or in the Spirit.
Under the surface, there’s great depth to this simple spiritual discipline. Here are some insights on prayer found in scripture.
“Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live…” Genesis 20:7
In this passage, the Hebrew word for pray is palal, which means to interpose or intercede on someone’s behalf. We can lift someone else’s need when we pray to the Lord. Whether it’s healing, breakthrough or salvation – one of the most powerful ways to support someone is to pray for them.
“Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?” Exodus 32:11
The Hebrew word for pleaded or beseech is chalah, meaning to ask urgently. It doesn’t mean we demand from God. Instead, we approach him with desperation. The situation could be dire or beyond human hands, and for resolution, God has to step in.
“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
In the Greek, ceasing (ἀδιαλείπτως) translates to without any gap. Paul’s encouragement here isn’t three separate prompts – that we should rejoice, pray and be thankful. It’s one continuous thought: that prayer would be an ever-flowing stream throughout our day. It’s meant to be more than a singular event, but a constant connection to the Living God.
Prayer matters to God because we matter to God. The God of all creation, the one who calms winds and waves, sets up and tears down kingdoms, who’s closer than your next breath, wants to know you personally. But you can’t have a good relationship without communication.
Communication is two-way. Times of prayer aren’t simply venting our frustrations and providing a list of needs for God to work on. Yes, we can cast our cares on Jesus (1 Peter 5:7) – but more than just talking, we can listen. Let his peace wash over you as you rest in His presence. Await with eager expectation His response as you meditate on His word.
So, regardless of how you choose to pray, pray! Prayer connects us to God and allows us to commune with Him personally. Bring your gratitude, your worries, fears, requests and intercession.
Let Hebrews 4:14 encourage you. We have in Jesus, a High Priest who walked in our shoes and can relate to us. He lived a life fully human and can carry us through any circumstance because he’s fully God.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
Make it Practical.
Every Thursday at 7 PM, we gather in-person and online for corporate prayer. We also have a prayer wall on our website where you can post requests and pray for others. gkm.church/prayer