One of the key aspects of living a Christian lifestyle is prayer. A significant portion of the scriptures is dedicated to prayer. From the first days of God walking with Adam in the garden to the prayers discussed in Revelation at the end of time, the Bible places great emphasis on our prayer life. In the scripture lesson for today, Paul urges followers of Jesus to “devote yourselves to prayer” (Colossians 4:2). There are a couple of reasons that Paul urges us to do this: 1.) it brings us into closer relationship with God (who opens up opportunities in our lives), and 2.) it prepares us to be ready to witness for God.
A healthy prayer life leads us to walking closer to God. When we pray, we pause from the world around us and focus on God. We let go of the earthly things that often occupy and fill our mind, and we begin to focus upward toward God. This allows us to find moments of peace, tranquility, and quietness in our daily lives. Outside of the obvious health benefits from taking a pause from time to time, it also provides us an opportunity to experience catharsis ( a Greek term describing a release of emotion). We take our deepest thoughts and concerns, and we place them on God. This provides us an opportunity to talk with God, and also to pause and listen to God. In turn, we begin to learn from God, and this prepares us for opportunities to be God’s hands and feet in the world.
Another benefit of prayer is that it prepares us to be witnesses for God. Every Christian is called to spread the news of God’s love and grace. When we are baptized, we are told to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Our mission, then, is to spread the word and love of God to all the world. Prayer equips us for discerning when and where God wants us to work. Paul, again in our reading for today, urges us to be wise in how we interact with others and to “let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer anyone” (Colossians 4:6). Prayer equips us to have a closer relationship with God, but it also equips us to have a relationship with others. When we walk with God through prayer, we begin to understand our faith and how to draw others to God, and this ultimately helps us to be able to answer others with kindness and love.
No matter where we may be on our journey of faith, remember that a healthy prayer life can lead to a closer walk with God and can prepare us to be a better witnesses for God. Prayer equips us for every good work, and it leads to a stronger spiritual life. Take time today to pray and spend some time with the Living God, a God that is not dead, but a God that is alive and risen.
Prayer: A Prayer of St. Anselm
O Lord my God. Teach my heart this day where and how to find you. You have made me and re-made me, and you have bestowed on me all the good things I possess, and still I do not know you.
I have not yet done that for which I was made. Teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me.
Let me seek you in my desire; let me desire you in my seeking. Let me find you by loving you; let me love you when I find you.