Prayer is one of the most powerful tools that Christians have at their disposal. Even so, there are several misconceptions about prayer. Here are a few.

The first misconception is the idea that prayer mainly involves asking things from God. While it’s true that God wants us to share our needs and the desires of our hearts and that answered prayers can be a wonderful thing, this is all secondary to the main function of prayer, which is a deeper relationship with God. Prayer connects us with the Lord and allows us to stand on the firm foundation of His love and grace in our lives. Any answers to our prayers is an added bonus to the connection we experience with Him.

The second misconception is that we live in a closed universe and everything is fixed. We think, “Since everything is set and God knows the beginning and the end, why pray?” It’s a fair question, but, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:9, we are fellow workers with God. As Richard Foster says in his classic, Celebration of Discipline, “We are working with God to determine the outcome of things. In His grace, we are co-workers with God in advancing His kingdom upon the Earth.” Our prayers have the power to move heaven and earth!

The third misconception is the fear that our faith will crumble if our prayers are not answered. This fear keeps some Christians from praying all together. They wonder, “What if I pray for my sick relative and they still end up dying? What will my family think?” or “What if I pray to find a job and God doesn’t come through?” These fears cause many to avoid prayer altogether or to only pray very vague prayers. Then, if nothing happens, no one will know. But, suppose I walk into my office and turn on my light and nothing happens. Would I say, “I never believed in electricity anyway!” No! I would assume something is wrong and would set out to find what it is. A bad bulb or faulty connection. Sometimes our prayers aren’t answered because it’s not in God’s will and sometimes because we don’t have faith to believe they can be. Pray bold prayers and trust that God will take care of the rest.

Nothing draws us closer to the heart of God than prayer. It’s as simple as having a conversation with Him and can be started at anytime, including now!

God, teach me to pray. Give me the faith to know you’re listening, that you care, and that you will move when I call on You, even if You just move closer to me. In Jesus name, Amen.