During my seminary experience, I would occasionally pray with a friend who began his prayer: “Lord, thank you for prayer.”
From my youth, prayer had always been associated with meal times, stressful times and church times. It was usually experienced with some measure of detachment. It was a religious duty at best, and at worst it was a vacuous activity.
My view and experience of prayer changed in my first semester of college when I experienced the wonderful gift of being born again through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I became a child of God, and I began to daily and joyfully talk to God through prayer.
I thank God for prayer.
Prayer is a wonderful time through which I grow in my personal relationship with the living God. He invites me to come and talk with. He says in Psalm 62:8 “pour out your heart before God.” I thank God that prayer is a time that I can honestly share my thoughts and feelings to God my Father. It is a time that I can talk to him about any and all things.
Prayer is an essential time in which I talk to God about my sin. I John 1:9 says, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Prayer is a time that I can acknowledge to God my disobedience and rebellion — not only in terms of actions but attitudes and affections as well. I can confess sin, saying the same thing about sin that God says, and trust him to forgive and cleanse me from the inside out. How refreshing it is to experience the cleansing power of God in prayer.
Prayer is an empowering time as I come to God and receive his mercy and grace to help me in my time of need. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
I need God’s empowering grace each day and all throughout the day to walk with and serve him. I need the strength of his grace to be comforted, as well as, to be courageous as a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ to all peoples. The Lord’s empowering grace is experienced through prayer.
Prayer is a restful time in the presence of God. God says in Psalm 46:10, “be still and know that I am God.” Jesus says “come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). In the midst of the moment, it is very easy to be restless and anxious. In such times I find rest and peace in his loving presence in prayer.
I thank God for prayer. It is such a delight being in the presence of my heavenly Father. It is sweet. It is personal and powerful. It is worship and adoration. It is confession and supplication. It is rest and reassurance. It is stirring to action and quieting of heart. It is humbling and exhilarating. It is time with the lover of my soul — my Savior, my Lord and my God.
Lord, thank you for prayer.
Drew Fenstermacher is pastor at Faith Baptist Church of State College. Contact him at pastor firstname.lastname@example.org.