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Prayer is one of the most powerful forms of communication known to mankind. Life on earth is hazardous on a spiritual level, and as believers, we need regular conversations with our heavenly Father to keep us from being overwhelmed by everything going on around us. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to pray. When we go to God, we see results when we talk things over with Him in a two-way conversation, instead of simply reciting a set of memorized sentences.

Conversations with others are a great way to get to know them; conversations with God work the same way. Developing a relationship with Him goes much further than simply knowing about Him. Praying and meditating on His Word brings us closer to Him, and allows us to learn His true nature. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

God longs to hear from us on a regular basis. A personal relationship with us gives Him great joy. He knows exactly what’s going on in our lives, and He wants us to come to Him frequently. Spending time with Him gives us a deep level of wisdom and spiritual discernment the world doesn’t have. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ephesians 1:17).

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and praying helps us to maintain our spiritual compass and rudder. We all have our good days and our bad days; therefore, every prayer will be different. Religion takes out prayer’s personal connection to God and turns it into the type of compartmentalized recitation we learned as children; but this isn’t how He wants to talk with us. True prayer comes from the heart, and the finished works of Jesus now give us the freedom to pray in His name. “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23, 24).

Reflecting on what Jesus did for us on the cross takes us to a point where we pray because we want to, not because we feel compelled to. He made it possible for us to have lives of peace, joy, prosperity, good health, and victory over issues that defeat others. “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT). We don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to receive this; it’s available to us right now. This knowledge makes our spirits rejoice, so that we worship Him out of gratitude and thanksgiving.

God doesn’t want us to struggle along all by ourselves. He wants to give us input, guidance, direction, and rest from the trials we face every day. If we want an effective prayer life, we need to put our hearts into it. Talking to Him is guaranteed to refresh and strengthen us.

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