Article written by Chris McCurley:

I think it’s safe to say that breathing is something we are all familiar with, but something we all probably take for granted as well. We breathe in and out 12 to 14 times a minute, yet most of us never give it a second thought. It’s only when we engage in some strenuous activity that leaves us gasping for breath that we really concentrate on our breathing. Or, when we go swimming and we must hold our breath under water then we gain a better appreciation of breathing. Some of you may deal with asthma and, thus, are reminded constantly of how precious regular breathing is. Breathing is not something we tend to stop and think about on a regular basis, yet it keeps us alive. Without the ability to draw breath, we would soon die. And no one would choose not to breathe. We don’t take a break from breathing because breathing is essential to life. In fact, such is impossible, except for short periods of time. Breathing is involuntary; it’s second nature. Unless something obstructs or hinders our breathing, we will continue to breathe until our body ceases to live.

What is true in a physical sense is every bit as true in a spiritual sense. Just as we draw breath to sustain our physical lives, there is spiritual breath that provides life to the soul. It is called prayer, and without it, we die spiritually. And like physical breathing, we tend to ignore this most important act. We tend to take it for granted. We fail to put the proper emphasis on it. However, unlike physical breathing, we do have a choice. It is voluntary. We can choose not to pray. We can make a conscious effort to avoid prayer. And, yes, there are things that obstruct or hinder our spiritual breathing; things like: time, energy, daily distractions. Such things can act like a cancer, infiltrating our system and causing our soul to wither due to a lack of spiritual oxygen.

Prayer is something that should be second nature to us. It should be something that is a habit, but more than a habit, it should be something we deeply desire to do. Prayer is essential to having a healthy relationship with God. Do you love God? Do you have an intense desire to know Him and serve Him? If so, then prayer should come naturally. One cannot have an intimate, loving relationship with the Heavenly Father without prayer. Prayer is one of the most neglected disciplines of the Christian life. Far too many Christians ignore it, don’t set aside the time for it, or fail to give the proper attention to it. Some don’t understand it. Some wonder if they’re doing it correctly. Others simply close their eyes, start talking and hope for the best. It is essential that we understand prayer because prayer is essential to the Christian life. As children of God, no matter how diligently we may strive to please God in all other phases of our lives, if we do not pray and pray properly, we will fail miserably. It’s that important.

There are some things that no amount of teaching and preaching can do for you. Prayer is up to you, and it really boils down to an issue of priority. Is God THE most important person in your life? If He is, then you’ll always make time to hit your knees and bow your head. How much time are you giving to God? Prayer is a lifestyle. It keeps us alive spiritually; therefore, we must make it a priority.