Communication is the essential piece of life that provides stability within every civilization. As human beings, we are all social creatures which means that we communicate in order to be recognized and to gain an attachment to others. Sociology involves creating relationships with others, in addition to operating within a cultural norm with the intent to abide by a set of societal values. Part of such values is the incorporation of communicating and doing so effectively.
When one communicates well, they are able to express their thoughts and feelings which then means that those on the receiving end understand what is said. However, when there is a lack of communication or even poor communication between one or more individuals there is a loss in the relational aspect. For example, if you were to cease communicating with a family member or a friend then there is a loss in the relationship.
In the book of 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verses 16-18 state the following:
(ESV) “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
The Apostle Paul was speaking to Christians in the church of Thessalonica in this particular chapter. Throughout the chapter, he admonishes Christians to be strong in the faith and to edify one another. In the verses above, however, Paul says that we as Christians are to ‘Rejoice always’ and ‘pray without ceasing’. Why does Paul tell us to pray without ceasing?
The Apostle Paul understood that prayer was and is essential to the life of every believer. To pray without ceasing in this context means to pray without a time-gap. It suggests that we who are in Christ must pray without an interval. This means that we are to pray regularly. When we pray consistently, we are making a connection to God in thanksgiving and also rejoicing in praise and in worship.
Prayer becomes a necessary part of the development of every Christian because prayer establishes the line of communication unto God. One of the main purposes of prayer is to create communication and ultimately a relationship between God and humanity. Paul concludes in verse 18 by saying that it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that we always rejoice, pray without ceasing and that we give thanks in all circumstances.
It is God’s will that you and I have a connection to God through prayer. Our world today is predicated upon seeing something to believe it. Many don’t believe in prayer because they don’t believe in God or His existence. So prayer to those in and of the world does not make sense. However, to the believer, it is prayer that builds our foundation in Christ. To understand why we should pray, we must understand the purpose at a deeper level. Here are a few considerations:
1. Prayer provides power – Aside from the relational aspect of prayer, it is power that is produced when we pray. In the passage of Luke chapter 18, Jesus teaches by giving a parable in verses 1-8. In this short passage, Jesus gives the parable of the persistent widow. The story involves a judge who is characterized as someone who did not fear God and did not have respect for humanity.
The judge was essentially a callous and cold-hearted individual who did not see the value of humanity or the importance of submitting to the authority of God. In this parable, there is also a woman who is seeking justice against someone who is her adversary.
(ESV) “And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’”
In verse 3, this woman seeks justice from the judge but notice that the verse points to her persistence. Here is what happens in verses 5-6:
(ESV) “For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’””
The judge eventually concedes to this woman because she was so persistent. Here is the principle that Jesus wanted his listeners to grasp:
(ESV) “And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?”
The point of this parable was to suggest that when you and I pray, it produces the power for our circumstances and even our surroundings to change. If we are consistently praying, God not only hears us but he will eventually see to it that what we have prayed for (as long as it is in His will) will occur in our lives. The power of prayer is based on our earnest desire to see God’s will accomplished in addition to reliance upon Him for a change.
2. Prayer ignites faith – When you and I choose to pray, we are essentially saying to God with our actions that we are trusting or relying upon Him for what we need or desire. Think of it in the sense of a Father and a Child. A child asks what they desire from their Father because they believe that their request will be answered. Even if the answer is not satisfactory, there is a belief that what is asked can be addressed. The reason is because there is hope and a factor of trust in the parent/child relationship.
God wants us to approach Him in the same manner. Prayer ignites our faith in God because it pushes us beyond what we see with our natural eyesight. The spiritual is made more evident when we enter into the realm of prayer and reliance upon God. Through faith, we then receive revelation and manifestation of what God has to offer to us. By approaching God in prayer, we are surrendering our position and acknowledging that God is supreme.
3. Prayer produces a weapon against the enemy – 2 Corinthians 10:4 says:
(ESV) “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
Since the weapons that we use to fight satan are not fleshly or in the natural sense, it then means that our weapons must be spiritual. One of the ways that we as Christians can battle against satan is through prayer. By praying to God, we are invoking our relationship with God to battle against our foes. There are many battles that we cannot fight in our flesh because these battles are spiritual.
Satan desires to confuse those in Christ by promoting the idea that we can fight a spiritual battle in our flesh. Prayer is one of the many weapons that we as Christians have to not only defend ourselves but to expose the enemy for who he is. God will reveal to you who the enemy is and how to combat his forces when you seek God for direction. It is through prayer that our battle can be won because we are seeking God who then fights for us.
The point of prayer isn’t merely to talk to God but to talk to God in an effort to build a relationship with Him. The other part of prayer is understanding that God then desires to talk back to you. Prayer involves a constant dialogue between God and humanity. It is through this exchange of words or information that our Spirit is fortified for life’s journey.
However, for prayer to be effective there must be an acknowledgment and acceptance of Jesus Christ. Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord & Savior? You can have a relationship with Jesus by praying and confessing your sins to Him. There must then be a belief in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again. To take advantage of prayer in its purpose and its power, there must be a relationship with Christ. Find out what God desires to provide through a relationship with Him. Seek God and allow prayer to be the means to change your life and the life of others.