Prayer is communication with God. Prayer includes listening, discussion, and giving thanks -- not just asking for things. There are three main reasons to pray: for God's benefit, for your benefit, and for the benefit of others.
Relationship With God
Relationship is dependent on communication. Your relationship with the Lord, or anyone, will never grow and develop without communication. 1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 NKJ9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. God desires your fellowship. He wants to have you spend time with Him. REVELATION 3:20 NKJ20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Prayer is a privilege. We enjoy the presence of those who love us, especially when we also love them. God loves you more than anyone else does.
Become Like Him
As we spend time focused on God, in His presence, we change into His likeness. 2 CORINTHIANS 3:18 NKJ18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image. . . . The more time you spend around someone, the more you get to know them. You begin to know what they like and dislike, and how they think. When you spend time with the Lord in prayer, you get to know Him. Spending time with someone is the only way to build a relationship. We need to keep God central in our life. Otherwise, we will miss His plan. Because the world system has distorted our thinking, we must renew our minds. Renewing your mind is a process that takes time. Spending time with God speeds up the process.
Jesus, Our Example, Prayed
Jesus prayed and He is our example. If prayer was necessary for Jesus -- how much more so for us. JOHN 13:15 NKJ15 "For I have given you an example. . . . LUKE 6:12 NKJ12 . . . He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. MARK 1:35 NKJ35 . . . a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. LUKE 5:16 NKJ16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
Praying expresses our dependence on God. Prayer helps us remember that we can do nothing of significance without Him. Talking with God forces us to honestly face our situation -- for we know we cannot fool God. Prayer is a way of humbling yourself. God resists the proud but blesses the humble (James 4:6). Prayer keeps us "connected" with God. It stops us from busy activity so we can focus on God. Time spent in prayer helps us to stay tuned-in spiritually -- remaining sensitive to God. JOHN 15:4-5 NKJ4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. Pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). We should not do anything without checking with God. Receiving direction from God is the greatest help you can get. If we fail to seek God's help, we are headed for trouble, because the devil sets traps to destroy us. Prayer is the opposite of doing things by yourself. Prayer is hard on pride. Proud people do not pray much. God can do more in one minute than you can do in a lifetime.
Teach Us To Pray
Jesus obviously impressed His disciples with His prayer life, and the importance of prayer. They asked Him to teach them to pray -- the only thing recorded that they ever asked Jesus to teach them. LUKE 11:1 NKJ1 And it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
Build Yourself Up
ISAIAH 40:31 NKJ31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. . . . LUKE 22:46 NKJ46 . . . "pray, lest you enter into temptation." Prayer is a spiritual exercise, and strengthens you spiritually. One type of prayer is praying in tongues, or allowing your spirit to pray, without using your mind. According to the Bible, one of the many benefits of praying in the Spirit is to edify, or build up, yourself. JUDE 1:20 NKJ20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Edifying yourself is not selfish because only strong people are able to help others. Edifying yourself becomes selfish only when done without regard for others. 1 CORINTHIANS 14:4,14-15 NKJ4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. . . .14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.15 What is the result then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. . . .
We have authority in our domain and can choose to invite God's involvement -- or not. EZEKIEL 22:30 NKJ30 "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. JOHN 16:23-24 NKJ23 ". . . Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.24 "Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. JOHN 14:13-14 NKJ13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. Christ has delegated a certain amount of His authority in the earth to His Body, the church. Our decisions as believers -- which we can express in prayer -- make a difference in our lives and others' lives. MARK 11:24 NKJ24 ". . . whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
JEREMIAH 33:3 NKJ3 `Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' 2 CHRONICLES 7:14 NKJ14 "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. PSALM 50:15 NKJ15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me."