Prayer

7 Dec

As I sat through the great class that Chuck Mitchell and Will Powell are teaching on Discipleship, I became intrigued by the discussion on prayer. Prayer is the easiest thing in the world at which to become proficient, and yet possibly the most difficult subject in the world to master. My preschool-aged children are experts, and yet the closer I get to God in my walk, the more inadequate I feel in the area.

Biblical prayer should be a part of discipleship, and it’s easy to see why. The mature Christian is one whose life is devoted to prayer. I’ve heard it said that while some men try to promote themselves in town square, the man of God can be found on his knees in private. The Bible describes Daniel as someone who was known for his prayer life. Jesus, himself, was given to prayer. He taught us how to pray, exemplified good prayer, and valued its very existence.

Part of this discipleship involves helping encourage others to pray. We do this by encouraging planned prayer. We encourage the setting aside of time to pray. We encourage people to honestly report to God their frustration and inability to think of things for which to pray. As I grow older, I understand more and more the allegory of our Heavenly Father. You see, when my children come and tell me even the ways they are disappointed with me, I know that there is maturity and depth in the relationship. When they petition me with reverence, I can grow the relationship no matter the answer. To paraphrase Matthew, If I (being evil) know how to improve my relationship with my children, how much more can my Father in Heaven improve His relationship with us.

We often make excuses for why we can’t pray. We’ll claim to be too busy or too ashamed. We’ll say we’re too spiritually dry, God doesn’t answer our prayers, or we’re too ashamed to pray. While I believe, as was pointed out by a student in the aforementioned class, that these are all just ways of saying that we are not reverencing God the way we should and we are falling back into the natural man‘s way of thinking. Keeping each other accountable by praying with one another and keeping ourselves accountable by maintaining a record of our requests and answers are ways to make sure we stay the course.

I’ve given a run at dissecting prayer before and I believe there is great value in it, but I believe the most important thing to remember is that prayer is intended for the glory of God. Prayer is one of the primary ways that we can be changed. I love it when John Piper says that we pray because we are homesick. We are in our temporary home—a cursed world. We long to be with our Savior. The way to communicate with Him is through prayer.

So let me be one to encourage you that we should be a praying people. I pray that our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, make us increase and abound in love for one another and for all, so that He may make our hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints! (Even if we don’t feel like it).

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