By Michael Youssef, Ph D. June 06, 2020
Five minutes per day is the average amount of time most Christians spend in prayer. It should come as no surprise, then, that many of us don’t feel close to the Lord. Deep relationships require a significant investment of time and attention. If we want to be near to God, we must spend time in prayer.
Read Matthew 6:5-15. What we believe about prayer and its purpose determines how we practice it. There are people whose prayers are cold and rote because they believe that, since God has sovereignly ordained everything, their prayers will make no difference. On the other hand, there are those who think that God is paralyzed without their prayers—that prayer is asking God to do what He cannot do apart from the prayers of His people. So which is right?
The Bible actually teaches a tension of both—that God is absolutely sovereign and yet, in His sovereignty, responds to His people when they pray.
When Joshua prayed, the sun stood still. When Hannah prayed, God opened her womb. When Isaiah and Hezekiah prayed, 185,000 Assyrians were decimated in twelve hours. When Elijah prayed for drought, it didn’t rain for three and a half years—and when he prayed again, the rain returned.
The Truth is that God is in control of the universe and our prayers matter, just as Scripture teaches. God has ordained our prayers as one of the means through which He chooses to act. So, the next question we should ask is why?
The answer is both simple and profound: God wants a relationship with us. We have the great privilege of spending time every day with God in prayer, not out of obligation, but because He loves us and we desire an intimate relationship with Him in return—something that can’t be nurtured in only five minutes.
As you seek to spend time in prayer with God, joyfully remember its powerful purpose: to fellowship with your heavenly Father. And when you come to Him, come with expectation—for He desires to meet with you even more than you hope to meet with Him.
Prayer: Father, Your love is truly astounding. I am awed that the Lord of all creation would want a relationship with me. Thank You that You hear my prayers and that, in Your grace, they matter. Help me to seek Your face minute by minute. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).