The Power of Prayer

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I was recently reading an article in Focus on the Family’s publication Thriving Family called Teach Us to Pray by Ted Cunningham. The write-up was short, but it was talking about the importance of prayer. It outlined some key points about the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:9-13 to help parents teach their children how to pray, but in the process it reminded me of the power and importance of prayer in my own life.

Prayer is an obviously essential part of any believer’s spiritual walk, but it’s easy to forget to do at times. The Bible tells us that Jesus spent quite a bit of time in prayer, and He left us with the Lord’s Prayer as an example of how we should pray, which further confirms its necessity for our lives. But why is prayer so important?

In Ted Cunningham’s article, he listed six points about the purpose of prayer drawn from the Lord’s Prayer that helped answer that question.

  1. Prayer expresses love to our heavenly Dad.
  2. Prayer commits us to God’s will, not ours.
  3. Prayer declares God as our provider.
  4. Prayer seeks forgiveness of sins.
  5. Prayer resolves anger.
  6. Prayer provides spiritual protection.

It’s clear that prayer is packed with reasons to put it into practice.

For me, prayer is something that I have developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for as I have matured both in life and in my spiritual walk. It has become my lifeline for daily living because it is my direct connection with my Creator, whom I have come to realize I am completely and totally reliant on. You can’t develop or maintain a relationship with anyone if there is no communication. Prayer is my quality time with God, which is invaluable to me and my relationship with Him.

Praise
The first thing I always do in my prayers is praise God. He is an amazing God, and every day there is so much to be thankful for that He has clearly provided. I thank Him for my husband, our safety, home, jobs, and provisions, family, friends, health, and a lot of things that we can easily take for granted. Anything and everything that comes to mind, I make sure to acknowledge and praise Him for.

One thing that might not immediately come to mind is expressing gratitude for trials and tribulations. There is a song called Blessed Be Your Name that says,

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name

God is faithful, and even though we can’t understand the why or what of our circumstances at times, He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). His Word promises us in Romans 8:28, “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I have come to recognize that difficulties in life are the training ground for faith and purpose. God knows we need equipped to deal with this life and accomplish what He has called us to do, so in all things, I give Him praise. Whether it makes sense or not, no matter how painful, I choose to praise Him in the challenging times too.

Praising our heavenly Father is a crucial part of prayer. Just like we want and need to be affirmed, He is worthy of our praise. Make sure you take time to ponder His goodness and provisions, and then convey that gratitude to Him.

Requests
Most of us know how to make requests of God. The simple truth is that we cannot do this life without Christ. We need Him each and every day to overcome the troubles of this life. “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:14). Clearly God knew we would need Him, and He invites us to come to Him with anything.

Remember to ultimately ask for God’s will, not yours. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable to bring our cares, desires, and hopes before Him, but we can’t forget that His will is the best for us. In Isaiah 55:8, He tells us, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” In the end, we have to trust that God always knows better than us what we need, what’s best for us, and when it all should occur. With that in mind, we can lay our requests at His feet.

Forgiveness
My mom used to always tell me that if I said nothing else in my prayers, that I should make sure to ask for forgiveness of my sins each and every day. That always stuck with me, and to this day, I always take time to ask God for forgiveness from the things I say, do, and think that are wrong. I ask God daily to help me die to the flesh and live in His spirit.

Sin separates us from God, and it can also separate us from others. It gives Satan a foothold for wreaking havoc in our lives. That’s why it’s important to ask God to reveal our sins to us, and then seek His forgiveness from those sins. Beyond that, it’s our job to turn from our sinful ways, enlisting God’s help to make the right choices, live a life representative of Christ, and defeat Satan’s fiery darts.

Relationship Relevance
Prayer is also a powerful and instrumental component to the success of our relationships. God is a God of relationships. He desires for us to be in relationship with Him as well as others, which is why he is the ultimate resource for aiding our relationships.

Not only do I plead the blood of Jesus over my marriage daily, but I invite God into our relationship. I ask Him to help me be the wife He designed me to be and to help my husband be the husband He designed him to be. In addition, I bring before Him struggles, decisions, and situations that exist between my husband and me asking for His help and healing. Praying for my marriage, my husband, and my role as a wife is the best possible thing I can do. In her book, The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian says, “Talking to God about your husband is an act of love. Prayer gives rise to love, love begets more prayers, which in turn gives rise to more love.”

Not only can prayer protect, heal, and help your marriage, but it’s also an incredible way to connect on an intimate, spiritual level with your spouse. My husband and I always try to pray together, and there is something so powerful and special about that time together. We are coming together with God in a way that binds us together, and we always feel God’s presence when we do so.

Prayer is powerful. It binds, loosens, connects, heals, and helps. It brings us closer to God, and allows us to build our relationship with Him as well as others. There is no doubt that the Bible emphasizes the importance of prayer because it is incredibly relevant and necessary for our lives here on earth.



About

Ashley McIlwain, M.A., is a Marriage and Family Therapist, speaker, and writer. She is the founder and C.E.O. of the non-profit organization, Foundation Restoration, and blog LittleWifey.com, which are comprehensive resources committed to restoring the very foundation of society - marriage. She is committed to and passionate about helping relationships thrive. Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy from Azusa Pacific University. Ashley previously served as Managing Editor for StartMarriageRight.com where she helped launch and develop the website into a hub for premarital preparation. Currently she and her husband, Steve, reside in Southern California.


  • http://N/A Sonu Sunny

    Thanks to God for your message. I am so blessed, and i came to know the importance of family prayer. God bless your family & you.

    Thanks & Regard’s

    Sonu Sunny
    (India)

  • http://foundationrestoration.org Ashley McIlwain

    Sonu, thank you so much for your kind words! How encouraging! What a blessing to know that you and your family have discovered the importance of prayer. May He bless you as you seek Him! Thanks again for your sweet comment; I appreciate it!
    Blessings, Ashley McIlwain

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