John Wallace wrote, “Prayer moves the hand that moves the world.” Think about it. A simple, sincere petition can influence the Creator of the universe to intervene in a given situation. Truly, prayer is a valuable asset to the believer. As such, it should be our first resource not our last resort. Unfortunately, some people treat God like the paramedics—they only call when they have an emergency! Perhaps if we call on Him more often we would have fewer emergencies.

James 5:16 emphatically states, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” In other words, prayer has a powerful impact and can make a profound difference. Prayer is the key to the heart of God that unlocks the door to all of His resources. Prayer is the spiritual equivalent of backing a truck up to the warehouse of heaven. Whatever you need from God (salvation, forgiveness, deliverance, healing, provision, peace) can be accessed via prayer. The Bible says, “You do not have because you do not ask” (Jam. 4:2). F. B. Myer wrote, “The great tragedy of prayer is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.”

Prayer enables us to tap into a supernatural power source when human effort is inadequate. During the dark days of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln stated, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all around me, seemed insufficient for the day.” Supernatural help is readily available if we recognize our need and ask for it.

Simply put, prayer is talking to God. It is communicating with, connecting with, and enjoying fellowship with your Maker. A clever church sign read, “Prayer is the best wireless connection.” It is the means by which we stay connected with God. Prayer doesn’t have to be lengthy, fancy, or shrouded in religious jargon; it just needs to be sincere and from the heart. God spoke to Moses and vice versa “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Ex. 33:11).

A relationship is only as strong as its communication. Prayer, should be a two-way conversation—a dialogue not a monologue. Table tennis provides a helpful analogy. I play a lot of ping pong with my kids but it’s hard to play (and not much fun) with only one player. Someone must return the ball once you hit it over the net. So it is with prayer. There should be give and take. Once we pour our heart out to God, we should wait in His presence and listen for His answer. The purpose of prayer is not merely to inform God of our needs, but to invite His involvement in every area of our lives. “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask him” (Mt. 6:8).

How important is prayer? It is absolutely essential. Prayer is the most important, and probably the most neglected, activity of the Christian and the church. The German Reformer Martin Luther said, “To be a Christian without praying is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” It should be as normal to the believer as eating and sleeping. Prayer should not be just a crutch in a crisis, but a consistent lifestyle. The Apostle Paul raised the bar when he told us to “Pray without ceasing.” In other words, always remain in a prayerful attitude or mindset. So prayer should not only be a daily discipline but an open-ended and ongoing conversation between us and God.

Prayer is akin to a spiritual umbilical cord. When an embryo is formed in its mother’s womb, an umbilical cord connects from its navel to the placenta. Through it the baby receives vital blood, oxygen, and nutrition from its mother. That little cord is literally the baby’s lifeline. If severed, the baby would die. Likewise, prayer is our spiritual lifeline that keeps us connected to God. If severed, we die spiritually.

Prayer places all the resources of heaven at our disposal. The scriptures are replete with examples of how prayer turned the tide in the favor of God’s people. In fact, history proves that God moves when His people pray! Friend, take time to reignite your passion for praying and rediscover how your prayers can make a huge difference. Prayer can do anything God can do, and if we pray about everything, we won’t have to worry about anything. To achieve the most good for the Kingdom of God in this world, the words of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, still ring true, “Work as if everything depends on you, and pray as if everything depends on God.”

Note: this article is comprised of excerpts from Ben’s book entitled A Practical Pattern For Prayer which is available at the online store.