Kindling a Heart of Prayer
by Fia Curley
As surely as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, people across the globe are praying. Mothers are lifting up desires for their children. Husbands are praying for their wives. Grandparents are making requests for their grandchildren. And children are praying to pass tests that make them wish they had studied. Some are pleading. Some are heartbroken. Some desire reconciliation, others seek the grace to forgive. Some are bowing before photos or wooden figurines, and some are seeking the God who sees all and knows all.
Many may talk to the invisible, but prayer is key to the Christian’s relationship with God—it’s the way we communicate with our holy and sovereign God. And it’s also key to the plans He unfolds in the earth.
Prayer is sometimes referred to as simply just talking to God. And in some ways it is. But when we read the Bible, we find something unfathomable happening. The act of speaking words to God is not a dry, ancient ritual. Heartfelt requests—even unintelligible mutterings—are met with the power of God, displaying this truth: we speak to a God who not only hears prayer but a God who joyfully answers prayer.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:7–8)
Various religions have prayer as a basic tenet, but as followers of Christ, our prayers meet the ears of the One who has answers that flow from a kind and generous heart. We speak to the Ancient of Days and our victorious King, a God that has existed before time and calls Himself a father, a brother, and even a friend. A heart that has endured pain, betrayal, and animosity remains open, ever ready to display His faithfulness and mercy.
He hears the cries of businessmen in the small towns of America, of the brokenhearted in empty seven-figure estates, of pastors traveling on foot to visit persecuted believers, of feuding family members struggling to remain calm. Whether our prayers are joyful and eloquent or frustrated questions, they are heard, known, and received by God.
Throughout Scripture we see numerous examples of the early believers praying to God, seeking His wisdom, His power, His strength, and His answers. Job prayed for the souls of his children and for God to look favorably upon them in compassion and forgiveness. Moses prayed to encounter the I Am that I Am. Hannah prayed to receive a reversal to her barren state. David prayed to know what to do in times of battle. Elijah prayed for the heavens to release rain. And Jesus fervently prayed for God’s way forward in those intense moments before making the ultimate sacrifice.
Even our relationship to the Father first begins with prayer. When we come to Jesus, we’re introduced to the Father. That relationship sometimes begins with little understanding, despite heartfelt confessions. But as we grow in our relationship with God, we’re not left ignorant of who our Father is, what He’s done, and what He’s going to do.
“Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” (Psalm 119:18)
God is generous. He has given us His Son and Spirit, and He has placed all power and authority in the scarred hands of Jesus, that all would be brought to completion and under the continual reign of the King of kings and Lord of lords when Jesus returns to the earth. The Lord desires for us to grow and mature as His children, to not remain distant from Him or lack understanding of His ways.
He wants us to fully know that what He has spoken from ages past is still true today: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Psalm 103:8). He willingly shares about Himself through the living example of His Son, through His Word, through testimonies of His great exploits, and through His Spirit. His desire is for His children to come close, to abide, and for our joy in Him to be fulfilled as He satisfies us.
As thorough as He has been in expressing His nature, the Lord invites us into a dialogue—to talk with Him, expressing ourselves and listening to His wise words that bring clarity and peace to our weary souls. In this world that is far from perfect, He lifts our heads and heals our eyes to see His perfect nature and the perfection He will one day bring.
Through the act of prayer, we are given a lifeline to receive truth that will never pass away, to settle ourselves on the unshakeable foundation of the Word of the living God.
This simple exchange allows us to express our gratitude for His truth, our hesitation to believe it for our own lives, and our desperate desire for greater understanding, knowing the Lord delights in hearing our words.
God knows all that is in our hearts—even the things that we have yet to understand— but in prayer we open our innermost selves to our Father and grow in love for His nature and His gentle and kind work within us. We follow the example of our elder Brother, making ourselves completely vulnerable before His gaze. We join Him in agreement, proclaiming the truth about all He has done, who He is and all He will do.
For the Christian, prayer is not a duty, but it is a delight because of Who we are speaking with and getting to know more and more each day. It’s true that there are times when prayer may not seem easy. We endure moments when we have sought answers only to be left wondering what happened as the enemy mocks our faith, our words, and our efforts. But we are not left alone in these times.
Even our prayers drenched in disappointment and sadness are met by our kind Father. With our Lord and Savior we can face the steep valleys of disappointment, and kindle—or even rekindle—a heart of prayer that burns with the fuel of gratitude when we see this act with the right perspective.
Remember What You’re Doing
You have been invited in to listen, to share, to take in, and to release. As a child of God, adopted into His family by His desire, you have been given access to His ear, His heart, His hand, and His mind. He withholds no good thing from His children. While the Lord is always open to hear our hearts on a variety of topics, He has extended to us the opportunity to rule and reign with Him in this life, speaking to Him about what is occurring in the world around us, in our own homes or even in countries we may never get to visit. He has desires, and through prayer we can meet with Him to see that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8)
Remember Who You’re Praying To
The One with all power, all authority, who knows absolutely everything, wants to not only talk to you but wants to listen to you. This access is desired by many but sought out by few. Any given moment of any day you can converse and even commune with the holy, holy, holy God. You don’t have to take a number to speak to Him. You don’t have to go through another person before He will give you His attention. The One who created all things and will forever reign over all things desires to interact with you in a personal way.
“Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT)
Remember the Effects of Prayer
The Lord has given us His Word, displaying what He does through everyday lives that are yielded to Him. The freeing of the Israelites from bondage, the parting of the Red Sea, the sending of fire down from heaven amidst exhausted Baal worshipers, the leading of Cornelius to pray for a former murderer who would go on to preach the gospel to the masses, the saving of 3,000 in a single day—He has proven time and time again that He is the God of the impossible and that nothing is too hard for Him.
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.” (2 Chronicles 7:14–15)
References to prayer throughout the Old and New Testaments are as numerous as signposts along a highway, but it’s not the number of references that catches our attention. As readers, we’re drawn to the intimacy that is produced through a sustained heart of prayer. As believers, this too, is our inheritance and our legacy.
We have been grafted into a people of prayer, a people who know their God and were made to believe for, pray for, and see His great exploits.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And He is calling His people to engage with Him in this hour, to pray to Him in this time, and to see His hand move hearts near and far with His power.
Where are you seeking to grow in prayer?
Fia Curley served on the NightWatch at IHOPKC for many years, participating in prayer, worship, and intercession from midnight to 6am. Currently attending college in New York, she enjoys blending her passion for prayer, worship, and journalism as she labors with the Lord to see His goodness revealed to families, government leaders, and immigrants from non-Christian nations.