For Jesus, prayer was the explanation to His life. Both privately and publicly, at every decision point, He prayed. Mark 1:35 says He prayed alone, "a long while before daylight." Sometimes he continued in prayer all night long (Luke 6:12).
There is evidence throughout the New Testament of how He taught the disciples to pray. Even to the end on the cross, from Matthew 27:46 and Luke 23:34 and 46, Jesus prayed.
An easy answer to why Jesus prayed all the time is that being the Son of God, obviously, He prayed. There was an essential closeness between the Son of God and His Father.
What about us? Can we claim the same essential closeness to God, enough to pray through everything, and through every day?
Remember John 17:21, when Jesus made the following request, "That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us."
Jesus understood the importance of keeping communication open between His followers His Father.
He gave us the heartfelt Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6, a prayer to memorize that covers many elements of daily life from food to forgiveness.
"Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
We should praise God, pray for His work in the world, pray for our daily needs, and pray for help in our daily struggles. The same God who created life in us can be trusted with the details of our life. God loves to hear from us.
Jesus taught that we should ask for whatever we need in His name, or by His authority, and in agreement with God's will.
We are not worthy to approach the holy throne of God on our own, but, by praying "in Jesus' name," we acknowledge our dependence on His righteousness.
If we have been forgiven from sin through Jesus' death and resurrection, we can be confident in approaching God. This assurance is in Christ, and in God's promise to help us in our time of need.
When we pray, we should listen for God to remind us of unconfessed sin. We need to take time to repent before God from that sin. Prayer is meant to be an intimate communication with God. Remember that praying with a sincere heart matters more than flowery language, or repetitive pleas.
Also, when we pray, the Holy Spirit helps us remember other people's needs, and we can pray for them.
Since we want to receive from God, we need to ask. As we pray faithfully, we can trust that God will always answer. His response may not be the exact answer we were hoping for, but He will answer according to His perfect will.
Regardless of what the answer is, we know that "all things work together for good to those who love God; to those who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Bonnie Donnelly is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Christy Hudson at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.