What does it mean to you to pray to God? For some, it means a quiet spot in their house where they retreat to speak to God about their day. For some, it conjures up memories of life’s trials when they had to beg God for forgiveness or ask for His help. For me, it means openly talking to my Father but also my friend.
Prayer is such an integral part of the Christian’s life, yet it is often overlooked or minimized by trite and repetitive sayings, spoken the way we believe a prayer should sound. God’s word had much to say about prayer, many examples of Christians using this tool to get closer to God, but I will focus on only two in today’s post… confession and praise.
James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” We are instructed by our Father that even though His grace is sufficient to cleanse us from our sins, he would have us confess those sins to him and others, showing remorse and regret for our disobedience. Have you ever had someone offer you an apology that was immediately followed by an excuse? It doesn’t make the confession sound genuine does it? In the same way, we shouldn’t attempt to excuse our actions to God. He knows our thoughts anyway. He wants us to live righteous and holy lives, confessing our wrongs so he can comfort us.
If confession is us seeking out the favor and forgiveness of God, then praise is our offering to Him, our ability to give without an expectation of return. Prayer is one of our avenues to praise God, to show gratitude for the many blessings that he has showered down upon us. The book of Psalms is full of this type of praise and while many of its passages were written as songs, they are also the type of prayers we should pray. God loves to hear when we speak from the heart, sharing with him our love and amazement over his glory.
Speak to God in prayer more. Praise him and confess to him and see how it changes your relationship. God seeks transparency with you; he seeks your heart and we can offer that to him through the avenue of prayer.