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Do I really need to pray everyday?

Nigel Gillson, 13th December 2017

A father and son praying

When I was a young boy, I was told I had to pray everyday before going to bed. I literally had to kneel beside my bed, close my eyes and clasp my hands together whilst leaning on my bed. Being in The Salvation Army, I was taught to recount a chorus or refrain often sung in Sunday school as my prayer. It went something like this:

  • Gentle Jesus, meek and mild
  • Look upon this little child
  • Pity my simplicity
  • Suffer me to come to thee.
  • (Charles Wesley)

I must admit, as a child, the words sounded nice and sweet and after praying these words I did feel that Gentle Jesus was indeed suffering every time I said those words.

'Why waste time saying them to God? Aren’t we just suppose to trust he will do what he says he will do?'

As I grew the need to pray began to fade, the words began to lose their meaning (if indeed I actually knew what the true meaning was as a child) and before I knew it, I had stopped praying. I felt I didn’t need to pray, God knew what was in my mind and on my heart before I did, indeed, didn’t he actually put the thoughts and ideas into my mind in the first place? Why waste time saying them to God? Aren’t we just suppose to trust he will do what he says he will do? Will praying about my concerns actually do anything, change anything? What is the point of praying one sided conversations?

Now that I am an adult, the need for prayer has definitely not escaped me. I find that I must pray at least once everyday, otherwise I feel I am missing out on something big. It is sometimes a struggle to find time to focus on prayer, especially in today’s busy climate, but I have found the sheer benefits massively outweigh the drawbacks of not praying. Not only that, do you not focus a time everyday to speak with a loved one, anyone you want a relationship with. In fact, deep, meaningful relationships are built on conversation, aren’t they?

It is the same with God the Father? To have a meaningful relationship with him, we must spend time with him and talk with him and, yes, that means sharing our deepest concerns even though he knows about them already.

'The need to pray is not high on our agenda.'

The Gospel of Mark shows us that even Christ Jesus had to do this. Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35) The creator of the universe, had to stop his important work, take himself away from anything that would distract him and pray.

He prayed hours before his trial in Mark 14:32-42. These prayers weren’t quick, snappy prayers that took a couple minutes, but deep, meaningful prayers that were probably just as much long spells of quietness as it were Jesus speaking. Being in the presence of God is just as meaningful, meditating on his Word, focusing and concentrating on him are all as important as speaking your concerns. It’s a case of ensuring you spend meaningful time with God, our Father.

Do we really need to pray everyday? The answer is probably ‘no’ for most of us, because we’re too busy, too pressured, too focused on other things of this world, and what other excuses we can think of. The need to pray is not high on our agenda. If that’s you, like it is for me some days, perhaps your assessment of what Christ Jesus has done for us is needing refreshed.

The way I see it, Jesus died for me and my sins, why wouldn’t I want to spend time with the one who sent him?