AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

March 20, 2013

Nicklas: Why pray?

By Carl A. Nicklas, MA, MAR
The Hope Center

GROVE CITY — In the Bible we read, "Are you hurting? Pray!" (James 5:13) As we pray we connect with our Creator and draw close to Him. If He is our Heavenly Father and our Creator, why wouldn't we want to draw close to Him? Prayer is vital for so many reasons:

1. Drawing nearer to God: In marriage counseling I encourage couples to communicate openly and to seek to understand each other's God-given temperaments because it is vital to intimately know the person you are committing or have committed to spend your life. In the same way we need to connect and communicate with our Creator in order to know him deeper and to understand His purpose for us, who He is, and who we are. To understand the heart of God, we need to pray. To lead a life of intimacy with God, we need to pray.

2. Tool to bind powers of darkness: Prayer is powerful and the words uttered in prayer have wonder-working power. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Do not underestimate the power of prayer. The Devil is constantly trying to discourage us, demoralize us and weaken our faith in God. When tempted to fall into sin, pray. Prayer gives us the power to overcome.

3. Prayer changes you: The more time each of us spends with God, the more our face will shine with the radiance of God and the more our nature will resemble the loving nature of God. Our habits and lifestyles will change. We no longer will live selfish lives, but we will love others with a pure and sincere heart. Prayer changes us from the inside our.

4. Prayer protects: It is important to pray for God's protection on our family everyday. We need to pray for our parents, spouse, and children every single day. As parents, the responsibility lies with us to make kids aware of the importance of prayer. Children are extremely vulnerable and the choices they make during their growing up years will shape their future. Pray for God's protection upon their young lives.

5. Sets captives free: Pray fervently for those around you. There is a lot of heartache in this world---people are suffering from the bondage of sin. Pray in the name of Jesus, that these captives will be set free. Pray for a breakthrough in their lives. James encourages us that "the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective!" (James 5:16b)

6. Prayer heals: Jesus healed the sick while He was on Earth. He also gave authority to His disciples to heal. Jesus Christ has also given each one of us who believes in Him, the authority to heal. We need to pray for emotional, spiritual and physical healing for ourselves and for those around you. We all know people who suffer through physical, mental and sexual abuse. God's desire is for His people to be healed.

7. Prayer brings breakthroughs: Are you struggling with an issue in life? Are you desperately seeking a breakthrough? There is power in prayer. Each of us needs to recognize the priority and necessity of prayer. Prayer changes lives. Prayer works!

We at the Hope Center and the First Church of God believe in prayer and practice it often for our clients and community. We encourage you to make prayer an important priority. The words of the apostle Paul are powerful, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." (Philippians 4:6)

Carl Nicklas is the counseling pastor of the First Church of God in Grove City and the Director of the Hope Center. Visit www.hopegcpa.com

Published March 2, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.