Praying is an important act for any Christian who actively seek to bring God into their daily lives. The physical act of getting down on one’s knees and bowing one’s head is a gesture of humility and submission before the Lord our Father. Praying can be an incredibly vulnerable and intimate time with God. But more importantly, praying can be powerful when you experience His presence. Praying is not for God, but reserved for us. God commands us to pray to Him and we should obey. When we pray we are showing our obedience to His commands.
Biblically we are called to pray. Throughout Scripture, God commands us in several passages to pray to Him:
- “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2; NIV)
- “This, then, is how you should pray…” (Matthew 6:9, NIV)
- “When you pray, say…” (Luke 22:40, NIV)
- “Pray continually: (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV)
- “Pray that you will not fall into temptation” (Luke 22:40, NIV)
- “Pray to the Lord…” (Exodus 9:28, NIV; Acts 10:9, NIV)
- “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 2:1, NIV)
- “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV)
These passages have important action words. When God commands us to do something, we show our obedience through action. As children of God, we show our respect for His authority when we obey his commands. Here are a few important action words that show our obedience through prayer, which are: 1) “devote” ourselves to prayer, 2) pray “continually”, 3) “humble” and 4) “seek” my face. It’s important to define and understand what these terms mean.
Devote. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term devote as ‘to commit by a solemn act’ or ‘to give over or direct (time, money, effort, etc.) to a cause, enterprise, or activity.’ What this means is God is commanding us to give over time in our day and commit ourselves to Him in prayer. Being devoted is to be intentionally with one’s time, putting God first in our lives through the act of prayer. As the bride of God, we are wedded to Him and thus, we should show our commitment everyday, and give over our time to Him in prayer. Not showing our daily devotion and unwillingness to make time for God in prayer is disrespectful to His authority.
Continually. This is defined as ‘a constantly repeated manner: over and over’. What this means is God is commanding us to pray constantly and repeatedly, over and over. Praying is not a ‘one and done’ type of act. Praying should be constant and ongoing everyday.
Humble. I struggle with being humble at times, and I’m sure I am not alone. But what does being humble mean? Humble is defined as ‘not being proud or arrogant’, and ‘reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission’. When we come before the Lord and pray to Him, we are putting aside our prideful nature, and submitting ourselves to His authority. Submitting is to yield to His authority over our lives. Showing this type of humility is not only what He commands of us, but it shows our obedience and respect to Him as our heavenly Father. As men, we have a really hard time submitting (mostly due to pride) as society views this as being weak. As men, we are called to be spiritual leaders of our household, lead our wives, and we should be comfortable in our willingness to give over and submit our lives to His authority.
Seek. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, the passage says to “pray and seek my face”. When we pray, we are asked to go in search of, or look for, God’s face. John Piper describes seeking the Lord as meaning to seek his presence. “Presence” is a common translation of the Hebrew word “face”. So when we pray, we are searching and looking for God’s presence in our time of prayer.
When we pray, God calls us to give over and commit our time to him (Devote). This does not mean once a week, or once a month, or whenever we have time. Imagine for a moment how your spouse would feel if you did not intentionally make time for her in your day? I know my wife would be very angry and hurt, let alone disrespected. Just as marriage is a union, our relationship with God is a union. So be intentional, mindful, and willing to take time from your busy day and show your devotion to God through prayer. If I had to guess, one of God’s love languages is Quality time.
Additionally, God commands us to pray constantly, over and over (Continually). This means we should show our devotion constantly throughout the day through prayer. This does not mean just around the dinner table everyday and you’re good in His eyes. Getting in our daily prayer is not the same as getting in our daily steps. Showing our devotion can’t be tracked on our iWatches, Fitbit’s or any other activity tracking devices. Prayer shouldn’t be treated or viewed that way, and showing our devotion towards God as an activity rather than relationally and intentionally, is disrespectful. Do you view showing love and appreciation for your wife as an activity? Hopefully not. When we come before God and pray, we are to do so without selfish pride or arrogance, through the act of selfless submission to His authority over us (Humble). Lastly, we are commanded when we pray to search and be aware of His presence (Seek).
I hope breaking down ‘how’ the Bible calls us to show our obedience towards God in prayer is helpful. But I must confess that throughout the course of my Christian life, my praying habits have taken many twists and turns. Being consistent is something I need to work on, and I realize this. The busyness of everyday life does take my focus off of my time with God, but that is no excuse. It is my own fault for not prioritizing my time with God. I must align my time and attention on a daily basis, and be intentional in my relationship with God. Relationships require an everyday, intentional expression of our devotion. Just as it is important to be intentional with showing your love and devotion towards your spouse, it is equally important to do so towards God. As a husband, if my focus is not on God, I can’t be the husband my wife needs. And at the end of the day, my relationship with God must come first above all else: Not my job, friends, family, or even my wife should take precedent before God. Spending time in prayer is one way to show God, He comes first in our lives.
Christian, Husband, Political junkie, Braves fan, Marvel Nerd, craft beer aficionado, and a sinner saved by grace. He has a passion for helping Christian men grow in their faith. He is the founder and editor of Joshua’s Outpost.