Our Father does not consider prayer an optional part of the Christian life. The Bible tells us that two-way communication with God is essential. From Mark 1:35-37, the discipline of prayer includes…

An expectant attitude. We must believe that God has something important to say to us. It could be a reminder of His love, an insight into our situation, or the answer to a petition. With such an outlook, we’ll be listening more than we are speaking.

A focus on our heavenly Father. When we praise the Lord, our minds will let go of worldly things and center on Him. Thinking of His perfect character and sacrifice at the cross readies us to hear from Him and obey.

A willingness to see ourselves the way God does. The Holy Spirit works in us to produce Christlikeness. That means uncovering what is unholy and replacing it with His righteousness. It also includes demonstrating godly character (Gal. 5:22-23).

A surrender to His leadership. When we submit to Him as Lord, our petitions will be more in line with His will.

A regular appointment. It takes commitment to develop a life of strong faith. Daily activities will crowd out our conversations with the Lord unless we set the time and place to pray.

Everywhere Jesus traveled, the multitudes approached Him with their needs. Although there were many people for Christ to help, He would regularly step away from the demands of the crowd to interact with His Father (Mark 6:45-46). Won’t you give prayer that same priority?

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Allen Tilley is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Carthage.