You ever watch Happy Days? I remember one episode when Fonzie prayed. Richie had been injured, and lies in a coma in the hospital. The Fonz speaks to God. This section is in the Youtube video below beginning at 6:20.
Hey uhh, Sir? We gotta have a little chat here. It’s about my best friend Richie. He’s in really bad shape. I know you know that, but the world’s kinda goin’ a little wacko, ya know? [breaking up] Ya need people down here like him, and if you don’t, I do!
[breaks up even more] I can fix alot of things but um, this one’s all yours …
Even as a kid, that prayer reduced me to tears. As a believer, I understand the depth of joy the Father has when someone who doesn’t know Him surrenders to Him, conscious of his own weaknesses.
But is during an emergency the only time we pray? And if God knows all of our needs, do we even have to talk to Him about them?
I think the biggest thing to remember about prayer is, like so many of the things the Bible instructs us to do, it is for our benefit, not God’s. He doesn’t need us to tell Him what is going on down here; He is here with us. He initiated prayer as an opportunity for us to communicate with Him, to experience the Father relationship He wants to have with us.
When we make talking to our Father a regular event, or better a constant attitude, we enjoy a deepening relationship with Him. It’s why Jesus spoke about prayer so often and gave specific examples of how to pray and how not to pray.
We’re not supposed to:
- Constantly repeat words over and over. Matthew 6:7
- Only pray “in tongues.” 1 Corinthians 14:14-15
- Pray to impress the ones around us. Matthew 6:5
Instead, we’re supposed to pray without ceasing. I think that means to engage God often, acknowledging Him as an ever-present companion, because He is! We’re also supposed to pray when we’re worried or upset about something. That isn’t the only time we should draw near to God, but He is definitely the source of our peace and strength when “sorrows like sea-billows roll.”
Prayer defines our place as desperately loved, but hopelessly helpless in the face of our need. It exalts God’s power to make changes that human hands and minds can’t make. It establishes Him as a strong tower where we can find safety in the middle of storms. Just the act of bowing our spirits before Almighty God puts us in a place of submission where He longs to work on our behalf.
- Wake up with a prayer or praise on your mind.
- Set aside an early time of prayer with Him.
- Talk to Him silently or aloud throughout the day as you think of things you’d like to say to Him or ask of Him.
- Spend a few minutes reflecting on His presence through your day. Thank Him and, if necessary, repent. (Oops!)
Your turn: What habits of prayer do you have and how has your prayer life strengthened your relationship with God?