Prayer is one of the most important, and yet, most neglected spiritual disciplines in the life of the believer. Jesus taught His disciples to pray in the Sermon on the Mount, and the Bible makes it clear throughout its pages that prayer is essential in the life of a Christian.
But do we take it as seriously as God does?
How many times have we said, “All we can do now is pray?”
All we can do? As if prayer is a last resort, the last lifeline we have, after we’ve exhausted all of our resources. As if asking the God of the universe is not our first go-to, but our last hope.
Prayer ought to be our first reaction to everything in our lives, good or bad. Why?
- Jesus prayed. Jesus routinely got alone to spend time with the Father (Matt. 14:23; Mark 1:35). It has been said that if Jesus couldn’t go without making prayer a priority, how can we?
- We are commanded to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). We are not commanded to pray only when we need God, but to pray endlessly, to always be in an attitude of prayer. If we are walking with God, it follows that we have regular conversation with Him in prayer.
- We are commanded to rejoice in prayer (1 Thess. 5:16; Phil. 4:4), as well as bring our sorrows to God (1 Pet. 5:7). God wants to hear from you on the good days and the bad. He wants to hear from us when we are struggling with our sinful flesh or sufferings, as well as when we are living in victory and great things are happening. As our Father, He cherishes time with us, and we should do the same.
Paul always reminds the church that he is praying for them, and that he is thankful for God’s work in their lives, because Paul understands that it is God’s work, not just the church’s work, that makes a difference in the world.
If we are to change our world for the kingdom of God, it must begin in prayer, because if we go out in our own strength, we will change nothing. But if we go out in the power of God, with the strength of His Spirit, we can change the world.
We don’t separate prayer from action; rather, we move forward with prayer-drenched, faith-driven, gospel-believing action that trusts God to work in and through us as we do all that God has called us to do: share the gospel, grow in holiness, advance the kingdom through justice, mercy and goodness.
So let’s pray. Pray more, pray hard, pray big things. As William Carey once said, “Expect great things from God. Do great things for God.”
Lord, may we pray more. May we understand how important it is to pray, for you commanded it for a reason. May we never underestimate your power. May we remember that it is your power we need. May you lead us in your grace and your power as we seek to live for you.