The Christian life is a privileged relationship with the Triune God (Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:1-7; Ephesians 2:18). It is not a just a moral code that we obey nor practical principles that we keep. Neither is the Christian life defined by rituals that we perform in order to be accepted by God. The Christian faith is a precious and intimate relationship with God whereby He makes himself known to us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we acknowledge his revelation in faith, love, trust and obedience.
As part of this marvelous salvation, prayer becomes the means of conversation with our God, addressing Him directly (Hebrews 4:16; 10:22) through our words, our thoughts, formally or informally, with a conscious sense that He hears us and takes pleasure in our company (John 14:21-23; Ephesians 2:7; Galatians 4:6-7; I John 5:13-15).
In order to keep this relationship unbroken and fresh, it is important to maintain an attitude of prayer. It is also important to put aside time for specific prayer and waiting on God (Psalm 40:1; Isaiah 40:31), asking our Heavenly Father for what only He can provide.
Part of authentic prayer assumes the right attitude of the believer. Often Christians act like spoiled children, making demands on God’s graciousness by praying for selfish “wants” instead of true “needs” (James 4:3). Our focus on material or physical benefits instead of the spiritual blessings guaranteed by the Lord (Ephesians 1:3) can grieve the Holy Spirit and sets us up for disappointment. Rather than suffer anxiety in any situation, we are commanded to bring all our prayers and petitions before God and rest in His peace (Philippians 4:6).
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus gave the disciples a pattern for true prayer that emphasized God’s kingdom perspective. Our petitions are directed at our Heavenly Father for the accomplishment of His will, that His name would be honored and that His kingdom would be established. It is only after acknowledging God ‘s priorities that we are instructed to ask for our daily bread. And our prayers assume the posture of humility before God, for we must confess our sins, and forgive the wrongs that have been done to us (Matthew 6:9-14).
Some Christian groups teach that God wants to shower us with financial blessings and physical health; that all we need is enough faith to make it happen. They’ll say: “God wants you wealthy and healthy, if only you claim your miracle by faith”. But this view has no biblical foundation for it does not take into account the lives of God’s servants as they suffered incredible difficulties in order to accomplish God’s purposes for their lives. When Jesus promised to answer all our requests, he did put some conditions: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7). By “remaining” in Christ (John 15:4) and having his “words” or his teachings “remain with us, we are attuned to the things that God wants to do and we partner with our Creator to accomplish his Kingdom task.
As children of God, we understand that God hears our prayers and answers them as we pray in accordance to His will (I John 5:14-15). Paul the apostle talked about prayer more than anyone in the Bible. Check out his epistles, especially his prayers for our spiritual illumination (Ephesians 1:17-23) that we may understand all that God has done for us in Christ and the role that prayer must take in our lives.