by Howard Glass
Prayer is unique. There is no other practice wherein a human is so entirely sovereign and free in the human sphere. God has made certain the things that really matter to Him cannot be hindered by His enemies. Let parliaments rule as they will, let courts pander to worldly wisdom, let dictators rage and oppress. It matters not. No force in the universe can keep us from our Lord.
You cannot be kept from praying. Though chained to a stake with your mouth clamped shut, you could still communicate with God. You could still pray. Prayer can be done silently, even secretly if need be, and be just as effective and meaningful.
You cannot be forced to pray. If I were to hold a pistol to your head and demand that you pray, I could not make you do it. Oh, you may utter some devout sounding words to placate me or even pray of your own volition because you feel threatened. But, whatever praying you did solely as a result of my demand would be meaningless to both you and God. Real prayer is a deliberate voluntary act that comes from a sincere heart if it happens at all.
We pray during worship. We pray on our beds and at the table. We pray while driving. We pray while we work. Sometimes we even pray while speaking to others. Our hearts cry out to God even when we are concentrating on something difficult and cannot focus our thoughts on prayer. We pray when we are happy or when we are troubled and sad. Which of these prayers means more to God? Who knows? The point is: He is never out of reach!
Just as nothing can separate us from God, nothing can compel us to worship God, love God or pray to Him. That is why He values our prayers. We offer them freely and willingly, because we desire Him and covet His ear. Prayer acknowledges our need of our Creator, a legitimate and satisfying part of our love for Him. No wonder Paul told us to "pray without ceasing." Why would we ever want to stop?