Question of the week: How and why is prayer important?
My answer: Prayer is the most powerful tool God has granted to us humans. The power of prayer is illustrated in the sacrament of communion. The bread in communion symbolizes Jesus’s body broken on our behalf that removes the barrier between us and God the Father. We who have committed our lives to Jesus Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior now have continual access and fellowship with God as a result. Thus, God always hears our prayers and is able to communicate truth to us through our prayers. The wine in communion symbolizes Jesus’s shed blood during his death on the cross. Because of that shed blood we have access to power from God. “There is power in the blood.” We gain power from God through prayer.
Anything we pray for that is in line with the will of God will happen. Prayer is a process wherein as we relate to God and listen to him, we discover in greater and more specific detail what his will is for a particular circumstance. We partner with God in seeing his will done through prayer. If we do not pray, God looks for a different partner and we miss out on seeing God’s miraculous hand at work through us.
Because prayer is such a powerful tool, God puts restrictions on how and when it is to be used. For example, we are not to pray for our own selfish desires (James 4:3), we are not to utter babbling, repetitious prayers (Matthew 6:7), and we are not to pray for reprobate people (1 John 5:16), people whose evil is so ubiquitous and entrenched that they are incapable of doing, saying, or thinking anything good and incapable of receiving any grace or truth from God.
Because prayer is such a powerful tool, God strongly exhorts us to use it and to use it often. We are to pray individually and privately. We are also to pray corporately and publicly with other people. There are times when God calls us to pray and fast, where we intensify and focus our prayers through abstaining for a time from some basic need such as food or sleep.