The importance of prayer in our lives is difficult to over emphasize. Our walk with Jesus starts with prayer, and we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17). This means that our entire life is to be a conversation with God.

One of my favorite verses is a favorite simply because of the powerful implication it makes. In Neh 2:4, Nehemiah says that he prayed to God. In the rest of the passage we see that this is during a conversation with a king and that the prayer in question actually occurred immediately after Nehemiah was asked a question by the king. I could be off track here, but even a common man would be annoyed with waiting. Unless the customs of this court were drastically different from any other in the history of man, then when a ruler asked you something you answered quickly. That means that this mighty man of God prayed almost between breaths. No hitting his knees, no flowery speech, no adherence to custom just something like a simple “Father, help me”. In the midst of his action he did not fail to seek God’s power.

Jesus showed us how not to pray and how to pray (Matthew 6:5-13). If we are praying for the approval of others then we are listening to and focusing on the ones whose approval we are trying to gain instead of opening up to God.

The pattern Jesus gave us is remarkably simple:
1. Praise God
2. Ask for God’s will to be done
3. Ask for your needs/wants
4. Ask for forgiveness
5. Ask for deliverance
6. Praise God

This guideline covers all the bases. Always put God first (1,2,& 6), opening up and letting God know our needs, wants, and faults (3, 4, &5).
God already knows everything about us so nothing we tell Him will be new to Him, but He wants to hear it. As parents we often know what our children are going to say about a given subject, but we often (not always, but you’ve got the idea) enjoy hearing it anyway. Is it so hard to believe that God who gave His Son (John 3:16) for us enjoys that fellowship with us.
There is another reason that is of tremendous value to us and once again shows us God’s wisdom and love for us. As we open up, we expose the areas of our hearts and minds that we may not realize we are hiding or otherwise just don’t want to give up (hurts, worries, angers, fears, sins, etc…). It is not just that we expose them to God as it is also that we expose them to ourselves. When we expose the darkness to the light then the darkness must give way. By knowingly exposing these things we weaken our grip and it becomes easier to let go and give them up to God.

Repeatedly in scripture (Matt 12:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12 are a few examples) we are shown that Jesus took the time to be alone in prayer with God. If the Living Word, the Christ, saw prayer as being so important that He made the time to pray and talk with God how can we possibly not do the same?

Matthew 6:5-13
Matthew 14:23
Mark 6:46
Luke 6:12
1 John 2:27
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Nehemiah 2:4