Why Is Prayer Necessary in the Religious Life of a Christian? Essay

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Stripped down to its essential meaning, prayer is a form of communication. However, prayer does not refer to communication between people. Prayer is communication between human beings and God. Prayer has its own diction, its own language. That language is deeply personal even as a Christian prays because of the collective spirit of Christ. In the Bible, prayer is presented as a simple and straightforward practice. The words a person uses to pray, where a person prays, and the time of day of the prayer matter less than the simple act of petitioning God with Love. "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking," (Matthew 6:7). Prayer is absolutely essential to the Christian lifestyle because it establishes and maintains a personal communication with God, helps revive faith, and because it ensures right living.

Developing a personal communication with God is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Although some Christians believe that communication with God is mainly possible through intermediaries including saints and clergy, many Christians believe that God wants individuals to pray on their own. Church attendance is not sufficient to inspire the Soul toward God, to affirm religious faith, or to put Christian living principles into practice. Church may introduce individuals to Christian ideals and ideas through Bible readings and sermons. However, Christians need to dwell permanently with the Spirit. A few hours per week at Church are not enough to establish communication with God and to put faith into practice.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Why Is Prayer Necessary in the Religious Life of a Christian? Assignment

The Old Testament in fact establishes prayer as being more important than formal religious functions. "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man," (Psalm 118:8). Although Christians must learn to respect their clergy and fellow church members, the ultimate goal of Christian faith is not to tally church attendance but to be closer to God. Prayer is the best method by which human beings can become closer to God. Church can plant spiritual seeds and inspire people to follow the teachings of Jesus but when the individual leaves the religious edifice, he or she must seek spiritual sustenance within. Prayer is a method to receive spiritual sustenance.

Christians who fail to pray regularly in addition to church service also run the risk of becoming complacent. Psalm 118:18 "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man," suggests that putting faith in God is tantamount to putting faith in the ego. Human beings can easily trick themselves into believing they are good Christians simply because of the fact that they attend Church every Sunday. In fact, going to Church means very little if the person lives a reckless, sinful life every other day or hour of the week. Jesus warns against superficial prayer. "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men," (Matthew 6:5).

Attending formal church services does, however, help Christians bond together in a community of like-minded persons. Church can become a form of communal prayer, the likes of which Jesus recommended when He said, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed," (James 5:16). Communal prayer is another cornerstone of Christianity, in some circumstances as important as personal, private prayer. The Bible refers to many instances in which Jesus summoned his disciples 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," (Acts 1:14). Praying together in the name of Jesus may be one of the most important aspects of Christian faith. Jesus Himself extolled the virtues of collective prayer: "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," (Matthew 18:20).

Prayer, whether private or collective, helps one establish and maintain personal communication with God. In Jeremiah 29:13 the Lord establishes the role of the personal heart in prayer: "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Prayer is not necessarily about asking God for help, although in many cases God wants supplication. Jesus said that especially when two or more people pray, God will answer. "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven," (Matthew 8:18). Psalm 34:17, written before Jesus was born, echoes the same truth: "The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles." Prayer is the main way God receives petitions for healing, forgiveness, salvation, or mercy. Without prayer, God would have no way of hearing our hearts cry out in need. Prayer is the language of the heart, the language of the Soul, and the language of God. "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart," (Jeremiah 29:13).

Furthermore, God needs people to pray as much as people need to pray to God. The Bible abounds with examples of how Jesus prayed, and Jesus always prayed selflessly. Through prayer we communicate our love for God. Therefore, God needs us to pray because it is our only human way of overcoming our sinful nature and elevating our soul to God. "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life," (Jude 1:20-21). Prayer is shown to be the only way Jesus and his Father communicated with each other, proving that the limitations of the flesh demand prayer as the means to establish communication with God. Jesus prayed both in front of his disciples and alone, and in doing so received the Word from the Father. Prayer, as Jesus explained it, was the primary means to surrender self will and accept the Kingdom of Heaven. When Jesus suggested to pray as follows: "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," he underscored the importance of prayer in accepting God's will above our own (Matthew 6:10). Jesus explained to his disciples that communicating with God is unlike communicating with people because "your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him," (Matthew 6:8). The point of prayer is to align the self with God and with Christian values.

Prayer is therefore a way to maintain or to revive faith. "When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple," (Jonah 2:7). Faltering faith or a troubled soul is curable by prayer. "In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears," (Psalm 18:6). Because God responds to and answers prayers, those who pray will soon realize that their faith has been rewarded. When Jesus said, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them," he was not just referring to fulfilled wishes (Mark 11:24). Jesus also intended his disciples to use prayer as a means to prove God's love just like Jesus used miracles to prove God's love to the disciples. Even during the darkest hour of the soul, when the individual doubts even God, prayer can maintain the faith. During dark times, collective prayer is helpful because Jesus said, "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven," (Matthew 8:18). Praying for someone who needs God's help is a sure way to offer aid.

Praying for others is another way to express and reaffirm Christian faith. Jesus devoted his existence to praying for others in the name of God and healing them. "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him," (James 5:15). The power of God to forgive sin is manifested via prayer. When the person becomes humble and willing to admit his or her own wrongdoings, prayer becomes a powerful petition to renew and revitalize a weakened faith. "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," (James 5:16). Prayer is the means by which sins are transformed into supplications. In this sense, prayer represents the essence of Christian mercy.

Praying with or for another person is one way of demonstrating the power of God. Another way is through private, personal prayer. To revive faith, prayer must be sincere and humble. "LORD, thou hast… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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