Prayer is the key that unlocks all of the treasures of the kingdom of God. It is a key that He has placed in your hand and invites you to use. Prayer is the conduit through which all the power and provision of God flows.
One of the questions people often have about prayer is: "If God knows what I need, why do I need to ask Him for it?" Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 that we do not need to worry about things because the Father knows everything we need (Matt. 6:31-32). He says in Matthew 6:8, "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what things you have need of before you ask Him." Yet, He teaches us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matt. 6:11). He states the need to ask in even stronger terms when He says, "Ask and it will be given to you" (Matt. 7:7). Don't you find that interesting? Jesus assures us that God knows everything we need, yet tells us to ask Him for it. Consider why God has set things up so that prayer releases into our lives what He knows we need and wants to give us.
God Wants Our Hearts
It's simple for God to meet your needs. Everything in the universe is His. Everything is at His command. It would be easy for God to do for you and provide for you everything you need without waiting for you to ask. But that is not how He has structured it.
God loves you and desires to live in intimacy with you. Prayer is more than the words you say that come sandwiched between "Dear God" and "Amen." Prayer is an openness to and awareness of His presence and His power in your life. He wants full possession of your heart. He wants you to live in the experience of His love for you.
Imagine what it might be like if God met your needs without engaging you in the process. You would never recognize His provision. It would seem to you to be coincidence or "just the way things are." But because you have the privilege of seeing Him meet your needs in response to prayer, you experience Him. You see how He provides for you even in the smallest details. You learn that a life lived prayerfully is a life lived beyond your limits.
In asking, you are recognizing the Source of everything. "Do not err, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no change or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures" (James 1:16-18). God tells you to ask for what you need because this interaction keeps you aware that no matter what avenue of supply He chooses to make use of, He is the source.
Sometimes God is waiting for you to ask because until you see your need, you will not recognize His supply. He waits until the need is real to you. He waits until you have come to the end of your own resources; until you have tried everything you know to try. He waits for you to turn to Him as the one and only Source.
Prayer Is a Relationship
The foundation of a praying life is knowing God. A promise is only as good as the person who makes it. When you make knowing Him your focus, you will come to trust His promises and the power of prayer will become your reality.
How do you come to know Him more personally and intimately? Soak yourself in His Word. Let your life marinate in it—absorbing its truth and wisdom into your heart. Live in uncompromising obedience to Him. Set aside a time every day for focusing on Him without distractions.
Regularly be in fellowship with other believers who share your passion for knowing Him. As you keep your life open to Him through these disciplines, you will come to know Him intimately. Trust in Him will come spontaneously. Peace will be the most natural state of your soul. You will find that you have moved from "saying prayers" to "living prayer."
Adapted from Live a Praying Life™ by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Used by permission.
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