Last year J. J. Watt, an NFL football player, made news when he gave out his phone number and invited people to connect with him.
(I’m sure he got a new phone number just for this. It’s not like he gave out his actual phone number.) Because he is originally from my area, this caused quite a stir among the locals. People started texting immediately.
Let’s be realistic. There’s no way Watt can possibly stay in professional-football-playing shape, maintain relationships with family and friends (including getting married), and still handle every single text that comes from people he doesn’t know. And though people know this deep down, they still text anyway. I’m not sure which texts he answers or how he chooses, but Watt has been responding to some people.
You know what’s amazing? God has given out his “phone number”—he just calls it prayer—and he invites us to connect with him every single day. What’s different about this form of communication is that God promises to listen to (and answer) every single prayer—including yours. He doesn’t pick and choose which ones he wants to deal with that day. He doesn’t give more credibility to the Christian you think is better or more worthy than you. He doesn’t just hear and answer people who seem to have their acts together. He hears you—lonely you, thankful you, exhausted you, overwhelmed you, happy you—and he answers . . . every single time.
Still, praying to the holy God who lives in unapproachable light can be intimidating. There’s a reason that people fell facedown whenever God showed his glory in the Bible. Because prayer is coming into God’s presence, it’s easy to be aware of the reality of our unworthiness and doubt that our prayers will have any effect.
After all, you hear that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16), and you know you are anything but righteous.
Except, you’re wrong. God sees you differently.
He says you are righteous, all because “righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22). Because God declares you righteous, your prayer is powerful and effective.
So let’s start praying—and start making a difference!
But, but, but . . . what do we pray for? I mean, it’s easy to pray for those who are sick or hurt, for the neighbor in the military, or for your job that might be on the line—and those are all important things. God absolutely wants you to talk to him about those things. Still, sometimes you want more prayer guidance. That’s why this month Time of Grace and I are helping jump-start your prayers. We’ll be sharing a prayer topic each day—ones that cover character issues and faith life, ones that might not always get playing time in your daily prayers, and ones that help you keep in touch with God about things that matter.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who, in the interest of being thorough for this post, sent J. J. a text. She hasn’t heard back yet.