Atomic Habits: Prayer

Author: Aaron Stephens

Prayer is a topic that may be one of the most important aspects of following Jesus, yet one of the most simple. Unfortunately, I think we, as believers, tend to overcomplicate it thinking we need elegant words or a flow chart to offer something “God worthy”.  

The truth is that prayer is simply communicating with God. 

The Bible references over 650 prayers and each takes on different sizes and shapes. There is one account in the Bible that does not reference a specific prayer, just the fact that Jesus was praying. It doesn’t say what Jesus said, it just says he was praying and I believe that’s all that matters. It’s not so much about what you pray as it is that you are praying. That you take that step of obedience and go before the Lord in humility and surrender. 

Luke 3: 21-23

“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli”

When Jesus was praying, heaven was opened up! 

Let’s focus on the three things that occurred while Jesus was praying. The first was when heaven opened up. I’m not sure if it was witnessed to all who were present or if the opening of heaven was only witnessed by those in heaven. I don’t think it matters, all that we need to know is that our prayers open heaven. 

Prayers are petitions for God’s kingdom to come near.

The second thing that occurred was the Holy Ghost descending like a dove onto Jesus. Prayers are petitions for God’s kingdom to come near. In other words they are a bridge from the natural to the supernatural. In this case God’s tangible presence appears in the natural form of a dove. God’s presence is walking among us in the natural. Whoa! Let that sink in. Our prayers open heaven and the tangible presence of God comes to meet us right where we are, all because of us communicating with God. 

Prayer ushers in the voice of God.

As if that’s not enough the third thing that occurred was that a voice came from heaven. This voice was God himself verbalizing His love for his son and His approval of Him. What an incredible moment for God the Father and Jesus. Prayer ushers in the voice of God. Let me pose a question, if Jesus wasn’t praying do you think any of this would have happened? 

Jesus’ prayer opened heaven and the Holy Ghost descended like a dove and God reassured Jesus of His love and approval of him in His audible voice. Can you imagine what that would have sounded like? That had to be such a pivotal moment in Jesus’ life and all because he felt called to pray and committed himself to doing so. 

I know there are moments in my life when I feel led to pray and oppositely I choose worldly things that too often occupy my mind. I’m too busy, “I don’t feel like it” or “I’ll do it later” are things I tell myself, and in that moment I miss out on so much of what God wants to do in His relationship with me. The interesting thing about these kinds of moments is that they are small enough to ignore yet powerful enough to impact my life forever.

The Bible states numerous times that Jesus went off to pray by himself. He quieted his mind away from the noise of everyday life not just to talk with God, but to listen as well.  

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus prayed continually because he walked in perfection of God’s will and he did so because of prayer, communing with God the Father. Jesus made prayer not just a habit or discipline, but a lifestyle. He modeled the way and because of him we have access to God’s power and goodness. 

Our prayers have power and they matter. 

They change us and the atmosphere surrounding us. They open heaven and bring it near. They help usher in God’s voice in our lives. Jesus modeled the way by living a lifestyle of prayer through his continual prayers and intentionality of making it a priority with his Father. 

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