The Importance of Prayer

By Joseph Ametepe


It is true in life that, when one really understands the importance of what he is to do, that is when he exerts all of his energy and passion in pursuing that task or project. So it is with prayer, when we are enabled to grasp its importance, our hearts would be set on fire to devote ourselves to its duty, discipline and delight.

The lack of understanding of the importance of prayer in both our personal lives and the church's life has not only robbed us from enjoying abundant life in Christ, but also has resulted in lives lacking the vibrant testimonies that once characterized the people of God. Oh that the Holy Spirit would deeply impress on our hearts the truths about the importance of prayer and thus make our lives and witness ever vibrant and victorious!

Several key truths found in the Scriptures about the importance of prayer have challenged many godly people in developing and strengthening their prayer lives. By laying hold of these key truths we can also build a life of prayer that has power with God.


Key Truth 1: Our desperate need of God

    • The failure in seeing that we are needy before God has made prayer trivial and unnecessary in our lives.
  • We are created to be dependent people.
  • Prayer in its simplest form is discovering our deep need for God who created us and expressing our dependence on Him.
  • We need Him for He alone can give meaning and significance to our lives.
  • Apart from Him, we can do nothing of eternal value.

"I am the vine, you are the branches; for he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

  • A Christian life that has a vibrant testimony and effective witness is one that recognizes its desperate need of God.

Key Truth 2: The reality of God

  • Prayer is important because the God we pray to is real.
  • God is actively and intimately involved in the lives of His children.
  • The God we are praying to is not remote or removed from us.
  • Not only is God real, but He is reliable. He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

  • Those who take prayer seriously discover:
  • that their God is real, active and alive.
  • that God is more than willing to reveal Himself as they diligently seek Him.
  • Prayer is a passion for those whose awareness of the reality of God is moment by moment.
  • The importance you attach to your prayer life is directly dependent on how you think and apply the truth about the reality of God.

Key Truth 3: Our transformation and spiritual growth

    • Prayer is important because our transformation and spiritual growth depend on it.
  • Prayer is the spiritual discipline God has chosen to bring about our transformation and spiritual growth.
  • In true prayer, our whole being is opened up to God to do a supernatural work which results in our transformation.
  • There is no substitute for prayer in the development of this openness to God.
  • Although Christ did not need to be transformed as we need to be, it was while He was praying that He was transfigured.
" And some eight days after these sayings, it came about that He took along Peter and John and James and went up to the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming" (Luke 9:28-29).
  • It is through prayer that our sins are brought to the light.
  • In true prayer, the penetrating search light of the Holy Spirit exposes our innermost sins.
  • When our sins are confessed in prayer, we receive cleansing and forgiveness and are transformed into the likeness of Christ.

R.A. Torrey writes: "Each day of true prayer life finds me more like my glorious Lord." He also wrote of John Welch, son-in-law of John Knox. He described John Welch as one of the faithful men of prayer the world ever saw. An old man speaking of him after his death said,"He was a type of Christ."

Key Truth 4: God repeatedly commands it in the Bible

  • Prayer is important because God has repeatedly commanded it in His Word.
  • Repetition of a command in the Word of God is for emphasis.
  • This repetition is to emphasis how important the discipline of prayer is.
  • A good reason for doing anything in life is that God has commanded it.
  • Among the commands in the Bible exhorting the believer to pray are:
1. Luke 18:1
2. I Thessalonians 5:17
3. Philippians 4:6
4. Ephesians 6:18-19
5. Matthew 26:41 (cf. Mark 14:38Luke 22:4046)
6. Colossians 4:2-3
7. I Thessalonians 5:25
8. II Thessalonians 3:1-2
9. Romans15:30-32
10. Hebrews 13:18
    • Lack of prayer then is sin.
  • It is a sin of disobedience to the plain and repeated commands of God.
  • The prophet Samuel knew that and prayed that God should forbid it that he should sin against HIM in ceasing to pray for Israel ( see I Samuel 12:23).

Key Truth 5: Prayer is the only way to have the power of the Holy Spirit for God's work.

  • God's work must be done in and with God's power.
  • It is absolutely useless and futile to try to do God's work in one's own power.
  • Satan rejoices to see the Church of today carrying out the "work of God" in her own power and strength.
  • The only way God has chosen to release His power through the believer to do His work effectively is through prayer. This makes prayer very important.
  • Just before the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven He reminded His disciples for the need to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and then they would be His effective witnesses (see Acts 1:4-8). They were to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of being baptized with the Holy Spirit.

  • While waiting the disciples earnestly devoted themselves to prayer."These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers" (Acts 1:14).

  • It was after this season of devotion to prayer that the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples and subsequently the power for the work of God released resulting in the salvation of three thousand souls.

  • Those who were saved devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to prayer and as result the work of God further advanced in the power of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:42-43).

  • After Pentecost the disciples needed to be empowered for the new challenges facing them in the work of God and so they lifted their hearts and voices in prayer to God. "And when they had prayed the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness... And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:3133).

  • Clearly, there is a strong correlation between the power of the Holy Spirit for the work of God and prayer.
  • The way for a believer to have the power of God for God's service is to pray.
  • We ought to pray, then, because prayer is God's appointed way for us to have the power of the Holy Spirit to do His work.

Key Truth 6: Prayer is to be the paramount activity in the assembly of God's people.

"And He began to teach and say to them, 'Is it not written, 'My house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a robbers' den.'" (Mark 11:17: cf. Matthew 21:12-13Isaiah 56:7Jeremiah 7:11John 2:13-16)

  • The main spiritual activity that is supposed to be the distinguishing mark of the gathering of God's people is prayer.
  • This is so important to God that He repeated it in His Word to emphasize the primacy of prayer.
  • Preaching, music, and drama are good, but they must never take the place of prayer as the true defining sign of God's dwelling.
  • The Church was launched while the disciples were practicing this truth.

Other truths about the importance of prayer, gleaned from Scripture:

  • There is a devil whose goal is to oppose and hinder our progress in God. He must be resisted in prayer (see Ephesians 6:10-18).
  • It is God's appointed means of obtaining things from Him (see James 4:2).
  • The men God set as a pattern of what He expected believers to be-the apostles regarded prayer as the most important business of their lives (see Acts 6:2Ephesians 1:15-16).
  • Prayer occupied a very prominent place and played a very important part in the earthly ministry of our Lord (see Luke 6:12Mark 1:35).
  • Prayer is the most important part of the present ministry of our risen Lord (see Hebrews 7:25).

Quotes on Prayer

"Conscious as we are of its vital importance, yet we let the hours pass away as a blank and can only lament in death the irremediable loss." - E. M. Bounds

"Prayer does not equip us for greater works prayer is the greater work." -Oswald Chambers

"Prayer is the most unexplored area of the Christian life. Prayer is the most powerful weapon of the Christian life. Prayer is the most hell-feared battle in the Christian life. Prayer is the most secret device of the Christian life. Prayer is the most underestimated power in the Christian life. Prayer is the most untaught truth in the Christian life. Prayer is the most demanding exercise in the Christian life. Prayer is the most neglected responsibility in the Christian life. Prayer is the most conquering outreach in the Christian life. Prayer is the most opposed warfare in the Christian life. Prayer is the most far-reaching ministry in the Christian life. -Leonard Ravenhill

"When the Holy Spirit comes in power, more will happen in one hour than will happen in fifty or even a hundred years as a result of your exertions and mine." -Martyn Lloyd Jones

"I used to think that prayer should have first place and teaching the second. I now feel it would be truer to give prayer the first, second, and third places, and teaching the fourth." -J. O. Fraser

"Those who have left the deepest impression on this sin-cursed earth have been men and women of prayer." -Dwight. L. Moody

"True prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of your heart or soul to God, through Jesus Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to the Word of God, for the good of the Church, with submission in faith to the will of God." -John Bunyan

"True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God. It is not the utterance of words, it is not alone the feelings of desires, but it is the advance of the desires to God, the spiritual approach of our nature toward the Lord our God. True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that–it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of heaven and earth.... True prayer is a spiritual business from beginning to end, and its aim and object end not with man but reach to God Himself. To qualify for such prayer, the work of the Holy Ghost is needed." -Charles Spurgeon

"True prayer is to respond to the true God as He reveals more of Himself by His Spirit in His Word.... People in prayer are people open to God." -John White


God Bless You.