Right from as far back as when I was little, my parents would always tell my siblings and me to be prayerful. My Sunday school teacher would sing to us, ‘Read your Bible, pray everyday.’ I went to Christian elementary and high schools and my teachers always rang the same words in my ears.
Honestly, I tried my best to obey them but I just couldn’t. I always preferred to have fun, watch movies, play games with my friends and do other fun things. I never really took prayer seriously until God began to open my eyes to its importance. When I realized how crucial prayer is, I didn’t need anybody to remind me to pray.
I intentionally developed the habit of prayer and I can boldly say that I’m reaping the benefits. Understanding why it is important to pray will trigger you to pray even when you don’t feel like it.
Why Do We Need to Pray?
If you are a Christian seeking motivation to pray, or maybe you just want to understand the significance of prayer, I’d like to walk you through ten crucial reasons why prayer is indispensable in the life of every Christian.
It is my desire, that they will spur you to embrace the lifestyle of prayer. So, here they are! I’d love to hear your comments about which ones resonate with you the most.
1. God Commands That We Pray
Prayer is not an advice or a suggestion. It is a command from God. God instructs us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing. Praying without ceasing doesn’t mean we should be on our knees in our bedrooms 24/7. Life would be unproductive if we do that.
God wants us to earn a living, go to school, fellowship with other Christians, interact with non-Christians in other to win their souls for Christ, and engage in many other activities. We can’t do any of these if we are on our knees 24/7.
What God means when He say’s “Pray without ceasing.” Is that we should pray consistently. We need to incorporate prayer into our daily routine. It could be once a day, or more. Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10). Whether you pray once, twice or thrice is up to you and God.
Please, don’t get me wrong. I know the Bible in Ephesians 6:18 says we should pray in the Spirit on all occasions. Doing this maintains our connection with the spirit in the midst of physical distractions and keeps us conscious of God’s presence.
We can and should interact with God when driving, strolling, eating etc. But that is not all there is to prayer. In Matthew 6:6, Jesus taught about a kind of prayer where we go to a private place, shut out all forms of distractions, and just focus on God.
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6 (ESV)
Do you notice from the above scripture that Jesus didn’t say “If you pray”? He said “When you pray”. That means living a life of prayer is not optional. It is a necessity for everyone.
1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1 (ESV)
2. Prayer Causes Us to Grow Spiritually
Do you feel tired of your current spiritual level? Perhaps you’re battling with one character flaw or the other and you have not really seen the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 at work in your life. You sincerely desire to be a better Christian.
One reason to pray is because prayer is a tool that God has put in place for our spiritual growth and transformation. Examine the following scripture.
20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Jude 1:20 (RV)
Please understand that praying once in a while, maybe only on Sunday mornings, once a month or year, or only when we are in trouble isn’t going to get us anywhere in terms of spiritual growth. It is the consistency that builds us. This is why we should pray to God everyday.
Prayer is a spiritual exercise just like weight lifting is a bodily exercise. In order to see measurable increase in our spiritual muscles, we must be consistent and determined.
And in other to truly measure substantial spiritual progress, our prayer language must go beyond the regular English language.
4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself… 1 Corinthians 14:4a
This spiritual language called tongues is an undeniable asset in the life of every believer. Now, don’t get uneasy and say you can’t speak in tongues. You can, trust me. To understand more about praying in tongues, read this post.
3. Prayer Grows Our Relationship with God
Have you noticed that one factor that builds up strong relationships is communication? Do the test yourself, check your closest relationships be it family or close friends. For any strong relationship to be built, one factor that must come into play is communication.
It is through communication that you get to know the other person better. You get to know the things the other person loves and the things he hates, his interests, motivations, and other things about him. In the same vein, we grow our relationship with God through frequent communication with Him.
The more time we spend with Him, praying and studying the Bible, the more we’ll come to understand His will for us, the things He likes and the things He hates. And most importantly, we will begin to recognize his voice whenever He speaks to us.
8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you… James 4:8a (ESV)
4. Prayer is a tool for spiritual warfare.
It will interest you to know that life in itself is a war. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Christian or not. You don’t have to do anything wrong. The mere fact that you are created by God and born of a woman makes the devil to wage war against you.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
Sicknesses, anxiety and depression, hatred, sorcery, wars, immorality, and temptation are few out of the many things He throws at us. What is his goal? To steal, kill, and destroy.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
It truly is self-deceit for anyone to think he is exempted from the devil’s agenda. If we just sit down and lazily fold our arms, the devil will put us inside hot water.
1 “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria… Amos 6:1a
But the good news is that we don’t need to be afraid of the Devil’s schemes because God has given us a spiritual armor with which we can gain victory over the devil and his cohorts.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm Ephesians 6:13
The Bible lists the constituents of this armor in Ephesians 6:14-20 and from verse 18, we see that prayer is one of them.
8 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:18
So, one reason why prayer is important is because it is one of the tools that we need in order to be able to take our stand against the enemy. It is important to note that prayer is just one out of a number of weapons and for us to gain true victory, we have to put on the full armor which includes the other weapons.
5. Prayer Gives us Access to the Help of God
I’ve heard a lot of people criticize God for watching bad things happen in the earth and not doing anything about it. In my mind, I’m like; did you even ask God to intervene?
Some may go ahead to say that God is omniscient and so He knows about everything that is going on, which is true. In fact, Jesus said In Matthew 6:8 that God knows what we need before we even ask Him. You may begin to wonder, why then do we need to ask if God already knows the things we need.
There is something we need to understand about the God we serve. God gave us free-will when He created us. He respects our will and will not just barge into our lives and do whatever he wants to do without being invited.
“The Lord says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.”
Isaiah 65:1 NLT
I love to use this analogy. Let’s say a landlord rents out one of his houses to a family, and one day, while strolling through his properties, he realizes that his tenants mistakenly left a tap open and went to bed and it seems their whole house is going to get flooded if nothing is done about it.
No matter how much this landlord wants to help, it’ll be improper for him to barge into their house uninvited even if the door is open. He’ll have to knock or give them a phone call and wait for the invitation before he can help, even though he is the landlord.
The Bible tells God that God put himself in the same position as this landlord by giving the earth to men.
16 The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. Psalms 115:16 (ESV)
You may say, “But I’ve seen God do things for me that I didn’t pray for.” Well, that’s probably because God in his mercy raised an intercessor for you. I may be in my bedroom praying in tongues, not knowing I’m interceding for someone millions of miles away whose name and face I do not know.
God wants us to pray because it’s in the place of prayer that we make our will known to Him, giving Him the go-ahead to intervene in our situations.
6. Prayer Prevents Us from Falling into Temptation
Are you tired of trying and failing to stop that sin? Why don’t you try asking God for the grace to overcome that temptation?
41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (ESV)
Jesus is saying in the above scripture that prayer, when combined with watchfulness will keep us from falling into temptation. This is one importance of personal prayer. Watchfulness means being on the lookout in order not to allow the devil to take us unawares.
7. Prayer is the Biblical Antidote to Anxiety
This one is interesting because a number of people battle with anxiety. Let’s see what the Bible says.
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)
When we tell God about our worries and the things that steal our joy by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, God gives a kind of peace that guards our hearts from all worries. Give this a try, having faith in God to deliver, and you will enjoy peace.
8. Prayer is a Platform for Intercession.
Intercession is the act of making petitions to God on behalf of someone. Intercession could be made for your immediate family members, members of the church, and even strangers in whose situations you want God to intervene.
Acts 12:1-18 tells the story of how Herod captured Peter in an attempt to execute him. In verse 5, we see that thee members of the church interceded for him.
5 Peter therefore was kept in the prison: but prayer was made earnestly of the church unto God for him Acts 12:5 (ESV)
And what was the result of the result of their intercession? God orchestrated a prison break for Peter by sending an angel. That was how Peter was delivered from Herod’s evil intentions. Do you see the power of intercession?
As I speak with you, Christians and missionaries are facing persecution in some parts of the world, religious wars here and there, people suffering from sickness and other issues. Intercession for them will go a long way.
9. The Act of Prayer is a Show of Humility
There was a time in my life when I wasn’t telling God my needs. If I needed money, I’d begin to strategize in my mind what I’d do to get the money, leaving God completely out of the process. As at then, I didn’t see anything wrong in what I was doing, but I have now come to realize that God doesn’t like that.
When we do those kinds of things, we are indirectly saying;
“God, I don’t need Your help in this situation. I can tackle it by myself and with my own strength. I don’t need You.”
That is the definition of pride. All the times I strategized without God, I realized that I always failed to achieve the things I wanted to achieve. Jesus said that without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). And God says we should acknowledge Him in all our ways.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
When we tell God about our needs, it’s a proof of humility. We are admitting to God that we are helpless without Him, and that is very pleasing to Him.
10. Prayer Builds Up Our faith
I’ve been in situations where I felt my faith wasn’t strong enough. These are the kinds of situations where fear and worry sets in. But I’ve come to realize that whenever I begin praying in the Spirit, my faith is strengthened and I’m filled with so much boldness, enough to put the devil in his place.
Does that happen to you? Well, it’s scriptural.
20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Jude 1:20 (RV)
Do you see the reasons why we must pray? God wants us to pray because of the many benefits it gives us.
It’s Not Enough to Desire to Pray
Many people who desire to build a strong prayer life usually complain of their inconsistencies. I also battled with inconsistency in my prayer life until God helped me to develop the habit of prayer. It is not enough to just desire to pray, you must be intentional about building consistency. If you wish to be more consistent in prayer, read this post. In it, I’ve listed out some strategies that helped me build consistency.
So this is it! 10 things prayer does for us. Are there some benefits of prayer you enjoy which I haven’t mentioned, please feel free to share them in the comments section.