Prayer is the cornerstone of an intimate relationship with God.
You can attend every church service…
Read the Bible cover to cover over and over…
Preach the Gospel to all the most random strangers…
Memorize and meditate on large quantities of Scripture night and day…
Adhere to every applicable law in the Bible…
And still have no intimacy with your Creator.
What builds friendships? Personally, I would say contact. Whether it may be through spending time with a particular person, talking to them, or just hanging out… direct contact is what builds your relationship with that person. It is a crucial component in getting to know each other.
And the same applies with God. Yeah, you could “saturate yourself in His presence” by doing all the things commanded by Him, but what about just simply talking to Him? Pouring out yourself to Him with your mouth, listening to hear His voice; it all comes down with direct verbal contact with your Creator to develop your friendship with Him. You know God is there, and that He hears your prayers. Your faith in Him increases because you know He’s there.
I really like this definition of prayer, written by Daniel Henderson in his impacting book, Transforming Prayer:
All true prayer exists for the glory of God and is
Based in the worship of God
Focused on the face of God
Shaped by the Word of God
Inspired by the Spirit of God
Offered through the Son of God
Aimed for the Will of God
Experienced by true children of God
In Transforming Prayer, Henderson describes most prayers as “grocery list prayers”, where we ask God for a bunch of things (mainly seeking the hand of God). Henderson then describes true prayer as worship-based prayer. This kind of prayer “seeks the face of God as well as the hand of God”. He believes that prayer is primarily about glorifying God, and then secondly presenting our requests to God, because no matter what we want, knowing God is much better and worth so much more than any of it all. Henderson offers practical tips to transform your prayers into the kind that build the foundation for powerful revivals, which I find so very useful and inspiring.
Daily prayer should be part of every man’s life. Jesus talked continuously to His Father, asking for guidance, praising God, and showing complete reverence to the Creator of all. He depended on God for encouragement and power. He did not look to Himself, even though He had all the ability to do so. Instead, He sought after God’s face and hand, and only then was able to perform all the miracles and preach all the messages He did.
If Jesus, the Son of God, ignored all the power He had and instead gave all glory to God in prayer and in prayer showed dependence on His Father… what does that say for us sinful mortals?