By Matt Clark
A couple of years ago, a group of my friends and I decided to watch a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Pay-Per-View. The friend who hosted the event at his house borrowed a 50-inch flat screen television from the church. When the time had come, we arrived at his house ready for the fight only to be disappointed by one little oversight; my friend had forgotten the power chord.
I imagine everyone reading this sees the importance of electricity when it comes to watching television. Needless to say, we were pretty upset. Everything else was right. We had the TV, the snacks, good company; but the night couldn’t move forward because we were missing the power chord. It’s amazing that everything hinged on something that seemed so small and insignificant.
Unfortunately, this is how many Christians view prayer. We tend to look at it as insignificant or unimportant. It’s not something a lot of Christians make a priority in their lives.
Your relationship with God will not grow without prayer.
Plain and simple. If you don’t pray, you will not grow in your faith. I love what John Piper says about prayer; “Prayer is the breathing of Christianity. If you don’t care about breathing, you don’t care about life. If you don’t care about Prayer, you don’t care about Spiritual life.”
Jesus was asked about Prayer in the gospel of Matthew. Here is what He said.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
This is a very well known portion of scripture in which Jesus gives us the model for prayer. I want to turn our attention to the first verse in which Jesus refers to God as “Father.” This is something that should not be overlooked. Through Jesus, we are able to approach God and see Him as Father. This is the relationship we now have with God.
“And I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18
Don’t miss that. No other religion views their god this way.
Anyone who has a father knows that in order to build a relationship, there needs to be communication. Without it, the relationship doesn’t exist. This is why we need to view prayer as “breathing.”
If you are serious about growing in your relationship with God, you should establish a time when you can be with Him. Here are a few steps to set up a Quiet Time: (The following steps were taken from “Student Survival Kit”, p.13, Ralph W. Neighbour, Jr.)
- Find a specific time and place – A desk, a table, or even the side of your bed will do. It is important to schedule at least 10 minutes for your quiet time. If possible, schedule your time with God at the start of your day.
- Be Consistent – A hit-and-miss pattern is an indication that you are not as serious as you need to be about growing as a Christian. Your quiet time is when you “program” your day to let Christ be Lord of your life.
- Have God’s Word and a way to take notes – Taking notes allows you to look back over what you have learned from God’s Word. You’ll want to use a notebook, your phone, or a computer to keep a spiritual growth journal.
- Begin with Prayer – Open your heart to Christ, offering Him the right to teach, discipline, or direct you as you study. Tell Him you love Him. Share your concerns with Him.
- End with a definite project for the day, related to what you have learned – Before you end your time alone with God, decide how you can live out the truth you have learned in your quiet time.
There is no other way around it. If you want to grow spiritually you have to build a relationship with God through prayer. Imagine the impact on our culture if all Christians were “breathing” the way God wants us to.