Paul is a man devoted to prayer, his encouragement to the Ephesians is to pray in the Spirit on all occasions, to the Colossians to be devoted to prayer, to the Thessalonians to pray continually, to the Philippians to consider everything in prayer, to the Romans to be constant in prayer, to the Corinthians that our prayers make a difference. To Timothy he reminds of his example of day and night prayer and to Titus and Philemon he prays a blessing. You are unable to escape the pervading prayer that Paul advocates and demonstrates. Yet it seems to be relegated to a back room, something for the women or the old and the infirm. We do it if we have to. I cannot help but think we have missed something, we have emphasised the resting in grace at the expense of seeking his face in prayer, they are not mutually exclusive.
It is like a whisper has spread, an insidious lie, that we don’t need to pray, that it is no longer necessary. And the perpetrator is laughing, because he knows if he can stop us praying, he has won a victory and a generation.
My prayer is that I wake up to the need to pray, caught up in the joy of prayer and worship and seeing things happen as I enter that place of prayer.
But I know that to come to this place I have to face my enemies, they come in the form of wrong theology, laziness and procrastination and discouragement.
Maybe these are not your battles, but they are mine.
My biggest discouragement in prayer is when I don’t see anything happen. I pray as I think I should, I seek the Lords direction and yet I don’t ‘seem’ to have an answer. After a few experiences like this, the desire to pray wains
and disappointment creeps in like dry rot. This is where I have to submit my experience to scripture. The truth is that God does answer prayer and when there is a discontinuity in our experience, it has to be our side that is lacking.
Laziness and procrastination mixed in with disappointment make a deadly mix, tomorrow always looks more appealing, and when tomorrow comes I don’t always ‘feel’ like doing it, or something else crops up and crowds out any unction to pray. This is where a diary helps. Make a prayer appointment, even if it is just with yourself.
Grace and the sovereignty of God are the last couple of enemies to prayer. I believe in them both whole heartedly but my feeling is that sometimes we have viewed them in opposition to prayer. We say it is all down to grace, or that God is sovereign (it is and He is) but they are not meant to counter act prayer. Somehow we have to live in the balance of both our need to pray the sovereignty of God and being under grace. We are not meant to strive but to live as sons and daughters of our father, but in this place there is also a daily dynamic of prayer that we should be experiencing. True relationship as a son or daughter will and can only result in prayer.
Lord deliver me from my enemies and give me give me success in my prayers!