Why Prayer Is Necessary: #2 – For Spiritual Growth 

Prayer helps in these four areas of spiritual growth:

1. Growth in understanding God’s ways.   In James 1:5 it says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally…”  It seems from this verse (and the previous verses), that wisdom, which is really an understanding of God’s ways, is gained through prayer as well as through experience; for as we encounter various trials (verse 2), we pray and ask God for an understanding of what to do (verse 5).  Therefore, both experience and prayer are needed. 

Experience (including all the trials we go through) keeps us in touch with reality, and prayer keeps us in touch with God, who in turn helps us understand all that we experience—which is wisdom. 

Experience allows us to grow in endurance as we encounter various trials, and prayer keeps us trusting and in touch with God—who is really the source of all our help.  As we encounter various trials through our experience, they will serve to move us toward prayer.  But unless we pray, all the experience and all the trials will do us no good; that is, they will not produce in us true wisdom.  The old person, who says, “I am wise because of my many years of experience,” is nothing but an old fool if he has rejected God.  True wisdom, no matter how much experience one has, comes only to those who pray and ask for it.    

2. Growth in understanding God’s Word.  In Psalms 119:18 we read, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”  Here the Psalmist prays to God that He would open his eyes and cause him to understand wonderful things from His Word.  As we may observe in this verse, there is nothing said about any personal effort of study to gain understanding.  The Psalmist expects all his understanding of the Word to come directly from God through prayer.

Now we know that the Bible tells us to study and meditate on the scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15, Ps. 1); therefore, our effort should not be disregarded.  All our effort in study, however, will prove vain and worthless without prayer.   But by prayer all that we have studied and pondered will make sense.

3.  Growth in developing a hatred for sin and a love for righteousness.  This time we will turn to Psalms 51.  Here we see that David was intensely grieved over his sin. In verse four he prays, “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight…”  Then in verse 10, he prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

As we see in this chapter, David believed in prayer; he counted on God in prayer to clean up his heart and restore his relationship with Him. 

We can count on God in prayer just as David did.  And the more we pray for purity in our life, the more God will give it to us, and thus the more we will grow to hate sin and love righteousness.           

4.  Growth in becoming more like God’s Son. In Romans 8:29 it says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.”  At first glance we may think that we don’t need do anything to bring about our transformation, that since it is already predestined to happen, God will make it happen without our effort.  Well, ultimately, I suppose that is true. But, along the way, God chooses to involve us in the process.

No, we cannot idly stand by and think that God will handle it all.  Transformation comes with the hard work of renewing our mind (Rom. 12:2)—which includes Bible study, meditation, and prayer.         

And the more we give ourselves to the work of study and prayer, the more we will behold Him as He really is.  Hence, in our beholding Him we are being transformed from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18).

Why Prayer is Necessary: #1 – To Obtain Personal Salvation

Is prayer really necessary? Some people say that prayer is just a type of meditation to make us feel better and to lull us into a false sense of security.  Others say that since God is loving and good, He will give us all the things we need and will accomplish His good will whether we pray or not.  I suppose most of us who are Christians say, “Yes I believe that prayer is absolutely necessary.” But, by our lack of prayer, don’t we demonstrate that we believe it is not necessary?  If we Christians really believed that prayer was necessary there would be prayer groups popping up all over.  If we really believed that prayer was necessary people would be eager to go to church; our churches would be packed full, not only on Sunday morning but also at the Wednesday night prayer meeting!

Prayer is indeed necessary, and in the next nine blogs I will give you nine reasons why. Here is the first one.

1.  Prayer Is Necessary to Obtain Personal Salvation

The Bible says, “Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). We know that prayer does not save; God saves.  But we see from this verse that God has made prayer the avenue through which salvation is granted.  He decided that we must call upon Him before He will save us.

Paul tells us in Romans 10:10 that man believes with the heart, but then with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  So believing with the heart is only part of faith—or, I would say, it is only the first step in receiving the gift of true faith from God.  To have complete faith, a saving faith, we must believe with the heart and also confess with the mouth.  This confession of the mouth, which is prayer, is what activates faith—or brings to life the faith of God He gives us in His Son (Heb. 12:2).  Without this confession of prayer our faith would be dead and worthless.  But with prayer our faith becomes alive, which results in our salvation.  Therefore, prayer is essential for salvation.      

What a great privilege God has given us.  He has given us the privilege of having a part in our own salvation.  That part comes with the decision we must make as to whether we will receive His Son Jesus Christ through prayer or not.  If we should choose not to receive Him that is our God given choice, and He will not force us to receive Him.  But if we choose to receive Him we can do it through prayer. 

Your prayer should sound something like this: 

Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner.  I believe that you died and paid the penalty for my sins.  Right now I repent of my sins and I invite you to come into my life.  Please come into my life and give me a new life.  Lord, help me to get to know you and to trust you.  Amen.

Believing prayer then is absolutely necessary.  It is what we must engage in to bring us from spiritual death to life in Christ.