When we love someone, our love for them will lead us to make time for them. Prayer is a way to make time for God.
It doesn't matter what religion you practice — prayer is essential.
When we pray, it creates a relationship with God that's unbreakable. But it’s only through deliberate and intentional communication that we nurture our relationship with the Heavenly Father.
Whether it’s through communal prayer with our church congregation or by ourselves, prayer is a powerful thing when done right.
Those who neglect this privilege are setting themselves up to live without God. And as a Christian, life without God is like trying to breathe without air.
To understand why we should pray, we should understand how praying started in the first place.
So if you need some help regarding prayer, or you just want to know the history of prayer, here’s the only guide you’ll need.
The origin of prayer is as complicated as its history.
Some scholars consider prayer to be the primary expression of religion, like how rational reasoning is to philosophy.
Prayer has a strong philosophical connection to surrender and supplication in practically all religions. All major religions we know of today have practiced prayer throughout past centuries simultaneously, so no one religion can claim to be the originator.
However, the way religions approach prayer varies greatly.
There's some evidence that ancient literature, such as the Sumerian temple hymns of Enheduanna from the 23rd century BC, are rituals addressing deities and thereby considered prayer.
Similar incantations are also found in the Egyptian Pyramid Texts dating from the same time, which also suggest they're prayers as well.
The majority of Jewish prayer consists of reciting written prayers in the synagogue, both as a symbol of joining with other Jews and for showing acceptance of Jewish tradition in general.
Certain Buddhism sects emphasize prayer as an important part of the foundational ritual. Prayer is a supporting practice of meditation for Buddhist scriptural studies.
For Buddhists, there are a number of benefits associated with the practice of prayer. It encompasses both a physical and mental aspect of meditation that can enhance contemplation of the holy texts.
In Hinduism, prayer is called Prārthana. Hindu prayers can be broadly classified into three categories: Mānasika (mental), Vācika (verbal), and Kāyika (physical).
Having thoughts about the Divine can be considered Mānasika. Chanting mantras and verbal requests are considered the Vācika. And Kāyika can be anything from offering fire or waving lamps, to offering food or making a pilgrimage.
According to the Islamic faith, Muslims are required to pray five times every day. Around the world, millions of people perform the prayer ritual five times a day, which dates back to 1400 years ago.
Traditionally, Muslims place a mat on the ground in order to provide cleanliness while offering prayer. While the Islamic religion doesn’t require its followers to worship in a clean area, they're encouraged to do so.
Ancient religions have stayed remarkably stable throughout the centuries, while Christianity is regarded as a fairly young religion that’s gone through many changes.
Early Christians would pray while standing and facing heaven with both arms outstretched and bare-headed.
At the beginning of high medieval times, kneeling postures with clasped hands seem to have been introduced, most likely as a gesture of respect.
In the 19th century, prayer was viewed as a stage of developing religion, from a magical to an enlightened stage, based on the development theory of evolution.
These theories, which reduce prayer to producing communal incantation, overlook the strictly individualized nature of prayer.
But this is all just scratching the surface of the legacy of prayer. Let’s take a look at what the word of God has to say.
Prayer, like a holy text, is essential to any religion.
Whether you pray for a long or short time — silently or aloud, alone or with friends — prayer should be direct communication with God, no matter where you are. And there are countless examples of prayer in the Bible.
Without the existence of prayer, many stories in the Bible wouldn’t have happened. The Bible often tells of God communicating with people directly through prayer to help them find their purpose in life.
He also uses prayer to help others understand His plans for humanity.
During His ministry, Jesus spent a lot of time praying, often going to a solitary place to pray for hours at a time.
This is documented in Mark 1:35, which says, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”
Jesus saw prayer as direct communication with the Heavenly Father. In times of trouble, He always looked to Him for strength.
In Philippians 4:6, the Bible says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Jesus Christ and the Heavenly Father are always listening whenever we call on them. So we shouldn’t be anxious about things that happen in life. Instead, we should supplement our prayers with a sense of gratitude and faith.
Romans 8:26 tells us, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
If we struggle to find the words to pray, the Holy Spirit will intervene. Put simply, when we knock, God will always answer. Seek, and you'll find Him waiting for you.
And when you ask if it’s in God’s plan, He will answer you.
Praying is communicating with God and expressing our inner spiritual needs.
When we pray, we are communicating with God, the gods, the transcendent realms, or other supernatural entities. As a universal practice, prayer may take many forms and take place at any time.
Whether manifested by regular people or modern mystics, prayer today expresses a wide range of religious ideas, feelings, and attitudes that govern human relations with the sacred.
We shouldn’t view the act of praying as a burden but as an invitation from the Holy Spirit.
When we pray, God invites us to create a relationship with Him that can only be expressed through adoration, faith, and gratitude. We draw near to God through prayer and learn more of His will for our lives.
Those who accept the invitation from the Holy Spirit can find purpose and power in their faith.
It’s inevitable that you'll be troubled by what seems like unanswered prayers if you use prayer only as a tool to exert some control over your life.
When you realize that praying is an act of surrender, you'll see that the only unanswered prayer is one that views prayer as an act of control and not as a conversation with God.
Because God is omnipotent, He knows what the eventual outcomes of every situation will be. When it doesn't affect you, accepting this idea is easy. However, the real test comes when God calls on you to trust Him for something or someone that's important to you.
Understanding the reasons for praying will help us to realize once again how God is inviting us into something precious and powerful: a relationship with him that's everlasting.
To pray means to communicate with God.
But how exactly does one have a conversation with the God of the universe? Even if you’re open and find it easy to communicate with your peers, it's understandable if talking to God is a more difficult experience.
However, you may not realize how easy it can be to talk with God.
Depending on your needs, prayer can be anything from thanking Him and praising Him to confessing your mistakes to Him.
Having a conversation with Him can even be as simple as speaking to a friend.
A relationship with God is the end goal of learning how to pray. Relationships are built on connection. Communication is one of the things that bind you to another person, and many of those moments revolve around the words you say and how you say them.
The six foundational ways to build that relationship with God are:
Prayer sometimes feels like a supernatural activity, so applying these very human characteristics to an otherworldly relationship can feel impossible.
However, God also has qualities and a personality that you can understand. Often, God can also be quite humorous. Yet, you won't be able to relate to Him the same way you relate to a loved one.
Even though the Heavenly Father feels so much bigger and more incredible than we can comprehend, He still cares deeply about what you think and feel. We're all our Father's children — each one of us.
Regardless of where you are on your spiritual journey, here's a practical guide to getting started talking to God.
Prayer is the best way to communicate directly with God.
It can also be a great comfort, whether we're praying for God's guidance or for the health of a loved one. But people also choose to pray for all sorts of reasons.
Christianity is more than just a label or a commitment to a new form of life. The Christian faith is based on the belief that God invited you to have a personal relationship with Him. Your prayers are important to the Heavenly Father because He cares for you.
At first, don’t get too fixated on what you ought to pray about. When you pray consistently, you'll notice what God is saying to you and what He thinks is noteworthy. As with any relationship in our lives, you must nurture it through proper communication.