Can there ever be too much rain and water in a dry and thirsty land?
After three years of drought in Texas, I didn’t think we could get too much rain to replenish the lakes and land. But I recently changed my thinking as I drove through blinding sheets of rain with bolts of lightning dancing all around. The rivers and creeks in my path were rising furiously and flooding their banks and bridges. God alone was in the car with me during this stormy drive, and I let him know that I really wanted the rain and rising waters to stop.
Even though too much water coming too fast can lead to big problems for people and communities, it is essential for all life. Nurses know that water is necessary for dissolving and transporting life-sustaining nutrients and oxygen and for maintaining moist environments within the body. And it also plays a vital role in flushing waste and toxins from the body. Physical life cannot be sustained without a continual inflow of fresh, clean water.
As water is necessary for physical life, prayer is necessary for spiritual life. Can there ever be too much prayer in our lives? No! A constant flow of God’s love, grace, and peace that results from ongoing communication with God through prayer is necessary for our spiritual health and flourishing.
Simply put, prayer is having a conversation with God, sharing our hearts with him and listening for his small, quiet voice to speak to us.
Thankfully, God’s Word has given us specific instructions and guidance about prayer. Jesus is our primary model. Scriptures tell us that Jesus often withdrew from people to be alone to pray (Luke 15:15-16). He taught the disciples how to pray (Luke 11) and he prayed specifically for them (John 17).
God’s Word instructs us to pray “at all times” (Ephesians 6:18) and to have an attitude of thanksgiving as we present our petitions to God. We can also expect God to change us when we pray (Philippians 4:6-7). We can ask God to meet any and all of our needs, even very practical ones. Just as I prayed for safety on my trip, the Apostle Paul asks the believers in Rome to pray for his safety as he traveled to Jerusalem:
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed” (Romans 15:30-32).
Thankfully, nothing is too small or big to ask God for. Praying is so simple, but yet it can be difficult. We may experience periods of spiritual drought and an inability to talk with God, but God is never far away from us. He understands our situations and never holds back his great love for us.
There is much to learn about prayer and how God uses our prayers to help us sense his presence and our unity with Christ and other believers. Jesus prayed that you and I can have this very thing:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20b-21).
The foundation of our prayer life must be that we know who we are praying to. If you are looking for a primer on who God is, or want a reminder of God’s characteristics, see my series, “Devotionals on God’s Attributes.”
In Christ alone we have abundant, refreshing rivers of living water for our thirsty souls. That’s worth a prayer of thanks.
~by Jane Hall, NCF National Director