If we are in Christ, we are His disciples or followers. It also means that a genuine disciple of Christ has been brought from darkness to light. We received forgiveness for our sins from being recipients of wrath because of what Christ has done on the cross. Our standing before God has been restored in which Christ becomes our mediator. Those who are in Christ have received adoptions as God’s children. That is why we call God our Father and come to Him as our Father. In other words, because of what Christ has done on the cross, those in Christ have peace with God through faith, and their relationship with God is restored. Because a Christian now has a relationship with God, a Christian will and should always pray to God, their Father, for what Christ has done.
While, indeed, the Bible commands us to pray, Christians pray not just out of obedience to the commandment to pray but also because they delight in communicating with God their Father. Just like in any relationship where communication is essential, and people always want to communicate with each other, so do Christians who want to always communicate with God. It is not done to earn salvation or adherence to tradition, but it is done out of obedience to God and delight in their relationship with God, their Father. Our being in a relationship with God and adopted as His children is something that would never be possible if not for Christ, who paid the debt of our sin and broke down the wall of hostility between God and us.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
Father in heaven, I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus, who came to die for the penalty of my sins so that in Him I may find forgiveness and eternal life. Christ also restored my relationship with You, and in Him, I have received adoption as Your child. Because of Christ, I can come to You and pray to You as my Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Why is prayer important in the life of a disciple?
Prayer is very important because, first, we are commanded to devote ourselves to prayer both individually and corporately. The Bible has shown normative examples that as Christians, we are to devote ourselves to prayer:
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
Also, the apostle Paul commanded the believers to devote themselves to prayer. It is written in
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
To make the argument that whatever Paul says in the Bible carries the same authority as what God is telling us, we have to remember that Paul is an appointed apostle of Jesus. He has an apostolic authority similar to the other apostles like Peter, John, James, etc. These apostles have an authority that no one else could have. Their teachings are also the foundations of Christianity (biblical), mainly derived and founded on Christ (Revelation 21:14). In other words, if we don’t do what Paul said, which was to devote or continuously be steadfast in prayer, it’s not just Paul whom we disobey but Christ. Whatever the apostles have taught in our Bibles is as good as what Christ teaches us.
Another thing to keep in mind is that whenever God commands us, it is not He Who will benefit when we obey it, but us. Prayer is one of the means of grace that God has given us to receive grace along with reading our bibles and connecting with fellow believers. For example, if you are going through tough times, how can you persevere and thrive through Christ Who strengthens you if you don’t pray, read your Bible, and have fellowship with fellow believers?
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
2 Corinthians 12:7–10
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
If you are a Christian and you find yourself always sinning without any regard for God’s holiness, it is not surprising that you are neglecting your prayer life too. Those who continually grow as Christians are always devoted when it comes to their spiritual discipline—one of which is prayer.
Another reason why prayer is essential in the life of a disciple is that prayers are powerful and they work. That means that if we pray, something does happen, and when we don’t, something does not occur except if God does it on His own. If you know someone you want to encounter Christ and follow Him, that person may have already been saved if you just prayed for that person’s heart to be softened and the Holy Spirit opened their eyes. That is why the belief that God is sovereign and knows all things and therefore it is pointless to pray is not true at all. God in His sovereignty also instituted prayer as a means for us to ask Him for something so that it may happen. Of course, this does not mean that God is a genie and that He will give you everything you ask for. God in His infinite wisdom does not answer some of our prayers, not because He is a cosmic killjoy but because He infinitely knows better and wants what is the best for us because He loves us.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.
Lastly, prayer is our way of communicating with God. If God communicates with us through the Scriptures, we communicate with God through prayer. Like any relationship, communication is vital; this goes for our relationship with God. If a Christian is indeed a genuine Christian, they will give importance to their prayer life because of a changed heart. They delight in spending solitude with God and talking to Him.
Heavenly Father, give me the grace to never neglect my prayer time with You. Help me always devote myself to prayer, just as You commanded us. May I always be constant in prayer whenever I go through tough times in life. Aside from obedience to You, may I always devote myself to prayer out of my delight and love for You, knowing that You are my Father. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Did Jesus live a life of prayer?
Jesus’ life exemplifies how we should value our prayer life.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
We have seen in the Gospel accounts that Jesus would sometimes withdraw from the people to spend time alone with the Father and pray. He also made time to pray when waking up in the morning. Jesus always prayed to the Father out of His perfect obedience and also because He was dependent on the Father as He did ministry. It is important to note that Jesus’ reliance on the Father does not mean He is not 100% God. That is another separate topic. Remember that we believe in the trinity of God. We believe in One God, Who eternally exists as three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
For us Christians, even if we are busy making disciples and ministering to others, we should not forget to take time to pray. We should do corporate prayers as a church community, but having time alone with God in prayer is also vital.
Father in heaven, give me the grace to follow the example of Christ when it comes to praying. Help me always fight for my time with You, when I will have solitude with You. Give me the grace to prioritize my prayer life and never be caught up with the business of life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
What attitude should we have when we pray?
The attitude that we should have whenever we pray to God should be an attitude of humility. Christ greatly exemplified this in His life whenever He would withdraw and pray alone toward God.
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
Jesus always depended on the Father as He did His ministry. As mentioned, that does not mean that He is not God. Jesus is 100% man and 100% God. Whenever Jesus prays to the Father and relies on Him for strength and power, it is not because He is powerless as a God but because He is operating in His nature as a human. But that does not change the fact that He is God. That is why Jesus lived the perfect, sinless life we should have lived as humans, and because of that, He is the only one qualified to pay for our sins, which would have been impossible if He was not God.
Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.
When we pray to God, we have to pray to God with a posture of humility. We come to Him because we know that on our own we are helpless. We need to rely on God for everything. For example, if you have financial difficulties, you come to God in humility, praying for provision because you know that everything comes from Him. If you are having a tough season in life, you come to God in humility, knowing that you cannot endure on your strength, but with God’s grace you can. Being humble before God in prayer also means submitting to God whatever He wills. When Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed to the Father to take the cup away from Him, but in the end, Jesus prayed that it is not His will to be done, but the Father’s.
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Heavenly Father, give me the grace to always come before You in prayer with a posture of humility. Remind me to never rely on myself but, instead, depend on You. As I keep myself humble, help me always submit to Your will and never insist on my own. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Prayer is not something we do to be saved, nor do we adhere to it because it is tradition. If we pray out of those motives, then praying is pointless. We pray and communicate to God because He is our Father, something that only those in Christ could experience and have. In Christ, we know that every prayer we pray reaches God because Christ is our High Priest who mediates between God and us.