The Relationship of Prayer

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
— 1 John 5:14-15

Ellie stopped to listen to five-year-old Maura’s bedtime prayers. Always one of the sweetest moments of the day, Ellie waited for the usual “bless mommy and daddy” prayers. Only tonight, she heard a catalog of toys, which Maura wanted for her birthday. Ellie stepped into Maura’s room and stopped her. “Honey, why are you asking God for all these things? God isn’t a vending machine.” Her daughter nodded enthusiastically. “I know! Pastor said God was more reliable than a vending machine!”

How often do we adults forget that God isn’t here to fulfill our every whim? It’s easy to fall into the trap of simply asking for the things we want. But God has designed us to have a relationship with Him, and we build that through spending time together.

Scripture is filled with instructions on when, where and how to pray. Jesus gave His disciples a model prayer (Luke 11) but also told them how to approach the Lord (“like children,” Matthew 18:3). He lets us know that we can “ask, and you will receive” (John 16:24) but that, as John pointed out, prayer should be “according to his will.”

Prayer is not solely about asking God to meet our needs. As Jesus demonstrated numerous times, prayer is about spending time alone with God (see Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12). It’s about a relationship that’s nourished through both sharing and listening. While God does provide for our needs, prayer is not a grocery list. It is a relationship with our Heavenly Father—a relationship built on time spent with Him and a craving to know His will for our lives.

God already knows us intimately, and prayer is as unique as each of us is. But prayer allows us to sit with Him, adore Him, listen to Him and get to know Him as well as He knows us.

Today’s One Thing

In today’s prayer time, remember to ask, “How can I know You better?”

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