If there is a sin that is prevalent in the church today, it's prayerlessness. So often we miss out on what God wants to do because we don't pray.
As Christians we don't want to break God's commandments, which would be committing sins of commission. But we also can be guilty of the sin of omission, which is not doing what we should.
We need to pray with each other, and we need to pray for each other. We can pray anywhere. Paul prayed in a dungeon. Daniel prayed in a cave filled with hungry lions. Peter prayed on the surface of the water, and then he prayed underwater. Jonah prayed from the belly of a great fish. The main thing is that we pray. God doesn't care so much about the length of your prayer or the eloquence of your prayer; he cares about the heart of your prayer.
God looks on the heart more than anything else, really. Jesus said, "Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him" (Matthew 6:8 NKJV). If that is the case, then why pray? The answer is pretty simple. Prayer is not informing God; prayer is inviting God. When I call out to the Lord in prayer and offer my petition, I'm not informing God of something he doesn't already know. Rather, I'm inviting God into my situation, into my challenges, into my problems.
The value of prayer is that it keeps me in touch with God. When people ask me to pray for them, I always try to do it immediately so that I don't forget. When Christians are facing a crisis and ask other Christians to remember them in prayer, that is a good thing to do. Jesus said, "If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:19). There is no question about it: there is power in unified prayer.
Even when we forget to pray, we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ is in Heaven, interceding for us. Hebrews 7:25 says, "He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf" (NLT). And Romans 8:34 says, "It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us" (NKJV).
Robert Murray M'Cheyne, a 19th-century Scottish minister, said, "If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference; he is praying for me!" That is so true.
The question is what does Jesus pray when he intercedes for us? We find the answer revealed in John's gospel, chapter 17. This is a prayer that only Jesus could pray, so it gives us an insight into his desire for us. It shows us his heart. Jesus prayed a lot, by the way. He was God walking among us, yet he always was praying to the Father.
Before Jesus chose the 12 apostles, he prayed all night (see Luke 6:12). We see him praying in the Garden of Gethsemane as he contemplated the horrors of the cross, saying, "My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done" (Matthew 26:42 NLT).
We also see him praying from the cross. In fact, his first words from Calvary were, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34 NKJV). And his last words from the cross also formed a prayer: "Father into your hands I commit my spirit" (verse 46 NKJV).
Jesus was always praying. If Jesus, being God, felt the necessity to pray, then how much more should we pray? With all of our flaws, with all of our shortcomings, with all of our weaknesses, how much more should we follow the example that Jesus set for us?