Muslims pray the Salat five times a day, religious Jews pray through the Siddur (prayer book) and Hindus offer sixteen varieties of Pujas towards different deities and honored guests. Even within Christianity, prayer is wide and varied.
While some Catholics pray the rosary (a set of ordered established prayers), Protestants usually improvise prayer. With all these different understandings of prayer’s function and benefit, it can be hard to establish what exactly prayer is and why one should engage in it.
Dr. David Gambo’s Vocation and Calling class, among other things, tackles this issue of why prayer is a foundation support in the life of a Christ-follower. One of the foundational ideas of prayer taught in this course is that prayer can promote change.
Sophomore global marketplace engagement major Hudson Olmstead took Dr. Gambo’s Vocation and Calling class during his freshman year.
“[The class] really helped me to understand the dire need for prayer, not just for my own personal life, but for the whole world,” Hudson said.
Hudson shared a saying of Dr. Gambo’s in illustrating the importance and power of prayer in changing physical realities in our world.
Regarding the constant conflict in the Middle East, Dr. Gambo said, “We can have just as much impact on that as anyone else before we even get out of bed in the morning.”
Psychology and pre-counseling major and fellow student of Dr. Gambo’s class Jessica Piers related the power of prayer not just toward the outside world, but toward the world that seems to revolve inside of each of us. Jessica spoke of a formational time in her life when, as a child, she was injured and scared. While feeling this pain and anxiety, she prayed to God for peace and He answered her request in a way that could only be a supernatural interference very different from something simply inside herself.
“It affected my belief that God works in my life and I continue to see Him working in my life and in the lives of my friends and family,” Jessica said.
According to millions of witnesses, prayer is powerful and can change not only the realities around you but also inside of you. But how can one harness this somewhat indefinable power?
Sophomore global marketplace engagement major Hayden Cunningham took Dr. Gambo’s Vocation and Calling class during his freshman year. Cunningham commented on the impact this class made on his spiritual life.
“This class emphasized the importance of prayer and how much more I need to be doing it in my life,” Cunningham said.
Furthermore, when asked about how prayer was made a habit in his life, Hayden said that it was really once he decided to accept his faith as his own that his prayer life started to flourish naturally. Hayden said that once he desired to have a personal relationship with God, his thoughts started “to bend…towards God and praising Him and talking to Him throughout the day.”
Prayer is not just harnessing the impersonal power of the universe, but it is the defining quality of a personable relationship with the only God Almighty.
If communication is a sign of a healthy romantic relationship, so is prayer the sign of a healthy spiritual walk.
Therefore, prayer is not a separate muscle that needs to be exercised apart from your friendship and submission to God to be used to gain wealth and well-being. Instead, it is an appendage to your growth with God. According to John 15:4: “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine,” so does attachment to Jesus and wanting to have that personal relationship first ultimately result in the fruit of a healthy prayer life.
Christians should not seek empty power, but seek a much better thing, a beautiful and content relationship with the master and creator of all things physical and metaphysical, seen and unseen.