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Engage with Grand Canyon University's (GCU) vibrant Spiritual Life community and take a deeper look at the various ministries that are happening around the world, in your backyard and on our campus. From weekly devotionals to Chapel highlights and features that reflect God's work in the hearts of our students, staff and faculty, each article is presented by GCU's Spiritual Life team and our special guests. We hope that God will challenge and encourage you through His words and the stories about His people that inspire us all.
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Weekly Devotional: What is Prayer?

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By Ally Richmond
Professional Writing Majors, Honors College

“Pray continually.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

If you grew up in a Christian home, one of the first things your parents probably instilled in you about your faith was the importance of prayer. They probably made you close your eyes, fold your hands and bow your head, right?

But what is prayer really? Do we have to close our eyes and fold our hands? When should we pray and what should we be praying for? The Bible has a lot to say about prayer and what role it should play in the lives of Christians.

When should I pray?

Many Christians make a habit of praying before meals and maybe before bed, and while setting aside this time to talk with God is a good idea, you can pray anytime and in fact, the Bible calls us to pray all day long. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 it states, “Pray continually.” But how do we do that? Praying continually does not mean you have to sit in your house on your knees praying, rather, it means that we should have a constant mindset of being in relationship with God. That means you can talk to Him anytime, whether your eyes or closed or not.

What should I pray?

In Ephesians 6:18 it says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” There are a number of things you can talk to God about. You can pray to praise God for who He is, you can pray to thank Him for something He has done, you can pray to ask God for help or you can pray to ask God to help others. Many of us go straight to our requests when we sit down to pray, but it is important that we also take time to praise God and thank Him for all He is doing. It is also important that we pray for others.

Who should I pray for?

Pray for everyone! Pray for yourself, your friends and your family, but also pray for those hurting around the world, non-Christians and even our government. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases our Savior.” We live in a broken and hurting world, and it is important to praise God for the good we see in it, as well as ask God to heal the brokenness.

Where should I pray?

You can pray anywhere. In Romans 8:26-27 it says, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows that mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Because of the Holy Spirit, we can talk directly to God anytime and anywhere. You can pray in your car, or in the shower or when you’re at the gym. God can hear us from anywhere.

Why should I pray?

Probably the most important question to answer is why we should pray. We should pray because we love God and want to be in communion with Him, but we should ultimately pray because God commands us to. Colossians 4:2 states, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” God asks us to devote ourselves to prayer because it is the best way to have a true relationship with Him.

Grand Canyon University is committed to the importance of prayer. If you would like to learn more about GCU’s Christian identity and heritage or would like to read more devotionals please visit our website and check out the GCU Blog.

About Allison Richmond
Professional Writing Major, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Allison Richmond is an Arizona native and a junior at Grand Canyon University. She is currently earning her Bachelor of Science in English with an Emphasis in Professional Writing with a minor in marketing. She hopes to use her degree to pursue a career in journalism or advertising in order to share her ideas and creativity with the world. Allison has a passion for writing. She has gotten the opportunity to pursue this passion through writing for Odyssey Online, working on writing research with her professor and writing for the GCU blogs. When she is not writing, Allison enjoys reading, traveling, baking and spending time with her friends. 

Read more about Allison