I remember making a Facebook comment once to try and see what people thought about radio. As you might guess, I love this medium of broadcasting. I always have, since about the age of eight. I used to take a transistor radio to bed with me at night and try to pick up the stations around Australia.
I suppose not everyone has such a fascination. Anyway, on Facebook I posed the question, What do you value most about radio? I got quite a few interesting responses, including one of my friends who said she listens to radio in the car for her entertainment. Then someone else (who I know) said this: “I never listen to the radio in the car. I spend time talking to the Lord all the time. I have no time for such entertainment when I can talk to the King of Kings.”
I was taken aback a little, but not surprised by Warren’s comment. He is a deeply spiritual man who practices what he preaches. And I am sure there are plenty of others who take use of time in the car alone to talk to God. I don’t think you should close your eyes to pray though. Not a good idea.
Prayer Builds a Relationship with God
Let me just clarify what I mean by a ‘quiet time’. We call it meditation or prayer. But it is communing with God as your divine friend and Lord. It’s not ’emptying the mind’ by concentrating on repeating a sound or a particular word over and over. I’m not talking about that kind of meditation. Our quiet time should be a time of transformation through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), not through the emptying of them. God can fill your mind with good and positive things which you can read about in the Bible.
Two little girls were playing dress up in their grandma’s attic. They were playing ‘pretend church’. The younger girl asked the other, Jane, do you pray every day? The knowledgeable older child answered, No, of course not. Some days I don’t need anything. We may laugh at the kids’ comments, but it strikes a chord. How many people pray when something goes wrong, and they want something?
We realise that prayer is much more than asking for our needs. But how often do we go a whole day or at least part of a day without even greeting or acknowledging God and his Son Jesus Christ. We go through life too busy to think of God. And we are the poorer for it.
If you are a Christian, you really should pray. The word ‘Christian’ means we are taking upon us the name of Christ and trying to be like him. When Christ was on the earth he set an example by praying. He prayed for guidance, he prayed for his disciples and followers, he prayed in gratitude and praise, when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and when he was on the Cross. So, if we are calling ourselves Christians, and becoming like Christ, then we should pray, as he did.
Prayer is indeed our opportunity to come to know God and build a relationship with him. However, it is critical to understand that in order to build that relationship we must understand that prayer requires two-way communication. Building a relationship with God is similar to building relationships with people around us: conversations need to go both ways; we talk, and then we listen. It is the same with God. Prayer allows us the opportunity to tell God how we are feeling, ask for guidance, assistance and answers to questions, but it also is our opportunity to learn from him what his will is for us.
Other Purposes of Prayer
Here’s another important reason to pray: prayer helps us find purpose. It seems many people today have no idea of their real purpose—what is the reason for my existence? We can pray and ask God to help us find purpose in our lives. He has a plan for us and desires to lead and guide us. I know from experience that when I have humbled myself in prayer and offered myself as a tool for him, God has guided me in making life plans and decisions. He has even given me purpose that gets me through the day-to-day issues of daily life—even the things I don’t want to do!
Finally, I think one of the most important purposes of prayer is to bring our will into line with God’s will. I think many people pray and then become upset when their prayers are not answered. Even though God loves us, it is not always his will nor is it possible for him to give us the things we desire. If you aren’t receiving answers to your prayers, or your prayers aren’t answered in the way you want, maybe you need to evaluate what you are praying for, and instead ask God what you should be praying for.
The Bible dictionary notes that the purpose of prayer is “to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means of obtaining the highest of all blessings.” That takes a bit to understand—but it’s God’s chosen way to connect with us, his children.
Prayer doesn’t always require lofty language in a sacred space. It can be richest when it’s simple and spontaneous. All I need to do is see our ordinary moments as the occasions for communicating with God. One of those simple spaces is my car—and why not? God can meet with you there in the vehicle, uninterrupted—just you and him. And if you choose to pray in the car, instead of listening to the radio, that’s fine by me. Just don’t take your eyes off the road!