Prayer is about relationship with God

By Milley Brewington - Contributing columnist

When we sum it all up, life is actually about one thing: love. People today are looking for a lasting fulfilling love. Only the Lord can satisfy our deepest need and reach the place within our soul. Life is all about love, (1 John 4:8) and He made us to have relationship with Himself. What you may realize is that this means prayer is all about love, too. Prayer together with the faithful reading of Scripture, is our most powerful means of experiencing God and growing in our relationship with Him. It’s in these times of fellowship, and conversation that we most distinctly hear His voice — calling out, sin, speaking forgiveness, and healing wounds.

Jesus knew the importance of prayer and practiced it regularly. He often slipped away from the crowds to commune with God. Then He would receive the guidance and strength necessary to carry on His Father’s work.

In teaching about the power of prayer, Jesus promised that God will always answer. He used three words to help us pray effectively: Ask, Seek, and Knock. Ask — We are to come to God with our requests. In doing so, we are acknowledging both out need and God’s ability to meet it. Jesus assures us that every request will be granted in accordance with our Father;s best for us and others. Seek — Sometimes the Lord asks us to get involved in the situation about which we are praying. For example, we may be petitioning Him to help us find a new job. He wants us not only to seek His wisdom and guidance but also to take practical steps to discover what’s available. When we obey His directions, God promises to provide the answer. Knock — In carrying out the Father’s plan — we will encounter obstacles along the way. For us to overcome them, sustained and persistent prayer may be required. Knocking imp[lies a level of force being applied so that a door will open. Once God presents the solution, we need no longer ask. When He opens up a path, we should walk on it. Prayer accomplishes much (James 5:16). It engages the Lord in people’s personal lives as well as in the affairs of government. It is the way we experience oneness with our Father and release the essentials needed to carry out His work.

In Matthew 7: 7-8; “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Jesus tells us to persist in pursuing God. People usually give up after a few halfhearted efforts and conclude that God cannot be found. But knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow through and Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded. Don’t give up in your efforts to seek God. Continue to ask Him for more knowledge, patience, wisdom, love and understanding. He will give them to you.

Continual prayer is the secret to accomplishment: asking, seeking, and knocking. The goal is not a fixed time of prayer but rather a lifestyle in which prayer becomes like the air we breathe. The promise is absolute. Answered prayer is guaranteed because these prayers are based upon our relationship with God, who responds to them as Father. Your prayers may not be answered as specifically requested because you do not have the Father’s perspective on what is ultimately best.

According to Scripture, some things God has planned to give will be received only if we ask Him (James 4:2). For example, Jesus did not perform many miracle in His hometown because so few people had the faith to ask (Matthew 13: 57-58). We should follow Jesus’ example and consistently go to our heavenly Father in prayer.

As our understanding of God’s character grows, we will have a better idea of how to pray in accordance to His will. God has promised to listen and respond to the prayers of His children (Isaiah 65:24). He assures us that He will act when our petitions are in Jesus’ name — which is to say, when they match His will and His timing (John 14:13).

Prayer invites God to act. Praying doesn’t alter God’s purposes or plans, nor does it cause Him to change His mind. What He has decided will occur (Isaiah 55:11) and His decisions will be the right ones to accomplish what He wants to achieve. Our prayers are powerful when, without reservation, we invite God to do His work in our lives and the lives of others. What impact, then does prayer have? It allows people, who are inadequate, to connect with an all-sufficient God. Hallelujah!

By Milley Brewington

Contributing columnist