Is prayer a gift from God or a duty to God, and does God only hear the prayers of believers?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Prayer is a gift from God’s hand and He’s given us the privilege of prayer because He loves us and wants our fellowship. Jesus said, “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23). What a profound truth—to know that Almighty God desires our fellowship!
The Christian life is a journey, and we need God’s strength and guidance along the way. He supplies direction through reading His Word and communicating with Him through prayer. God doesn’t leave us to our own resources! Prayer is part of the “everything we need” that God has given Christians. A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian. A prayerless Christian is also a contradiction, because we should yearn for fellowship with the One who redeemed us.
A young man once wrote, “I don’t see any reason to pray, God already knows what I want.” But if all we do is ask God for things, our prayers quickly become selfish and we begin to think of God as little more than a glorified Santa Claus to whom we turn only when we want something. But God is far greater than this. We must remember: God isn’t our servant; we are His servants, and for true believers it is the joy of our hearts to serve Him in obedience and reverence.
For those who do not know Christ as Savior, the greatest prayer is to call on the Name of Jesus; repent and be saved (see Romans 10:13). It is then that we establish fellowship and communication with Him.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)