I’ve written about this so often, that you’re probably sick of hearing about it. Heck, I’m sick of it sometimes. But the fact is, I wouldn’t keep writing about it if it wasn’t something I needed to keep reminding myself.
What am I talking about?
Oh, I pray, of course. I try to pray as soon as someone asks. I try to make a habit of praying the Scriptures. I pray with my kids and give thanks at meals and (usually) before I write… But there are times when I don’t. When I feel too busy. When I think there isn’t a point in praying about a specific issue because, well, God already knows.
This is what I have to fight against. And this is what I always have to remember, which is why I keep reading and writing about it. No great man or woman of the Christian faith was so because of a lack of prayer. In fact, it was prayer that made them great. JC Ryle wrote it well in A Call to Prayer:
Look through the lives of the brightest and best of God’s servants, whether in the Bible or not. See what is written of Moses and David and Daniel and Paul. Mark what is recorded of Luther and Bradford the Reformers. Observe what is related of the private devotions of Whitefield and Cecil and Venn and Bickersteth and McCheyne. Tell me of one of the goodly fellowship of saints and martyrs, who has not had this mark most prominently — they were men of prayer. Depend on it, prayer is power. Prayer obtains fresh and continued outpourings of the Spirit. He alone begins the work of grace in a person’s heart. He alone can carry it forward and make it prosper. But the good Spirit loves to be entreated. And those who ask most — will have most of his influence.
Prayer is not magic, of course. Prayer is acknowledging our dependence—and that’s its power. It is an act of humility, submitting our desires, our will, our motivations… Every part of our being to God. It is trusting Him to empower us, and strengthen us. To give us wisdom where we need it. To fill our hearts with wonder when we consider the work of Christ. To give us words to say when we desire to share the gospel with those who need to hear it, and to have hearts overflowing with compassion toward those in need and those who are suffering.
That’s what we need. More than anything else, we need healthy prayer lives.
I’m still a long way off from where I want to be in this area. Maybe you are, too. But by God’s grace, I’m seeing growth in my prayer life. I see prayers answered. I see my own attitude being changed. I hope you are, too.