Why Prayer Matters—

As the mother of a three-year-old and two-year-old, life is full, busy, and fast-paced. Each day I’m trying to keep up with the needs of young children, of being a pastor’s wife, of staying on top of a part-time job and other responsibilities that pull me in many different directions. At the end of last year, I noticed I was feeling more anxious than normal and the weight of life was feeling heavier. One night while doing our family devotions (that we “try” to do with our small children), we were talking about prayer with them. Each night, we use a picture card with family members, friends, and places familiar to our children to teach them about praying for others. As we were going through this routine, we were talking to them about the importance of prayer and how we can always pray for others and pray about anything. This wasn’t a new conversation or thought, but for some reason on this particular night, the Lord gripped my heart in a different way. I felt the Lord saying to me, “Bethany, you are wanting to teach your children about prayer and expecting them to pray, but are you praying?” Although I know prayer is important and I’d tried to be diligent in prayer in this busy season of life, it had slowly become less of a priority. Instead, I was trying to carry all the different roles and responsibilities in my life on my own. In that moment, while trying to teach my children, the Lord grabbed my heart and began to awaken me again to why prayer matters.

Jesus Models Prayer 

A passage I continue to be drawn to is Mark 1:35-39. During Jesus’s ministry on earth, He was incredibly busy. He led twelve disciples, regularly preached, healed the sick, performed numerous miracles, and ministered to many surrounding Him. Yet  “rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed.” He started His day with prayer before He did anything else. If the Savior of the world needed time with His Father, how much more do I need to start my day depending on my heavenly Father?

Jesus Calls Us to Prayer

During Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, He taught us all how to pray from a humble heart in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13). He modeled prayer as a heart of surrender beginning with worship of God, confession of sins, and supplication for ourselves and others.  When we pray to God, we are surrendering our own plans and desires. We are coming to the Lord in worship and neediness, knowing that we can’t do anything apart from Him.

Jesus Longs to Carry Our Burdens

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Many times throughout my life, I have found myself quoting this passage to myself. The Lord tells us not to be anxious. He longs to carry our burdens and for us to lay all at his feet. One of my favorite Tim Keller quotes is, “God will either give us what we ask or give us what we would have asked if we knew everything He knows.” God knows all things. He is before all things and He can handle every care and burden we carry. We can trust Him with the big and little things in our lives, knowing that He will answer according to His perfect will.

As we walk through the joys and sorrows of life here on earth, as we lead and disciple children, as we serve in our churches, and minister to others, we must first be dependent on our heavenly Father.

Over the last couple months since that night of family devotions, the Lord has been teaching me about the importance of prayer in my life. Life has not slowed down and my heart can quickly turn to anxious thoughts, but the Lord has been so faithful and kind to draw me near and convince me of my need of Him. Even spending a few minutes each day in prayer has been a rest for my soul. As my heart has grown in prayer, the Lord has used it to overflow into my children in their own prayer lives. I often notice that when I stop and pray they also want to take a turn praying or that when we pray together they use some of the same words I use in prayer.  It’s been such a sweet reminder of how our children watch us and listen to us.  Some of the sweetest sounds are hearing a child pray to their Heavenly Father.  What a kind and caring God we serve.

Bethany Belue is on staff with CDM serving in various roles within Children’s Ministry. Before coming on staff at CDM, she served as the Children’s Director at Redeemer PCA in New York City and Oak Mountain PCA in Birmingham, AL. She currently lives in Mobile, AL with her husband, Dustin, who is the assistant pastor at Grace Community Church PCA. Bethany and Dustin love investing in the next generation from small children to young adults. Life is full with their 2 young children, Patterson and Neely.