Every believer says prayer is important, but few actually pray very much. So I tend to think that prayer really isn’t that important to many belivers. That is a bold statement, but one I’m convinced of, here’s why. Whatever dominates our time, attention, energy, and efforts we will talk about. As it is written, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Mt 12:34b). That’s a hard and fast rule for everyone. If a person is consumed with politics, business… children… personal projects… PRAYER, or whatever, that thing WILL dominate their speech!
Listen to those around you… listen to yourself! Based on what you hear, what fills people’s heart? Whatever they are talking about, especially when they don’t have anything else to talk about, is what fills their (Our, MY?!) heart! IF what Jesus said is true (And it is), then there aren’t many Christians whose life, energy, time, and effort is devoted to prayer.
I found this on a blog I read periodically (Emphasis mine)…
The biggest danger for any generation of leaders is prayerlessness. Much in the church that begins from a spirit of genuine humility and prayer is carried on in proud self-sufficiency (Read again). Arthur Wallis once said, “A move of God will last as long as the Spirit of prayer that inspired it.” You can tell when this happens. It’s when prayer is used as a last resort, as a spare wheel, but it’s meant to be the steering wheel.
There are certain battles we simply cannot win without prayer. Jesus made this clear with the statement regarding the demon that would not submit to his disciples in Mark 9:29: “He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer.’” This is a striking text if you reflect on it: what had the disciples been trying with this demoniac? Of course they must have prayed, but that is not the point being made here by Jesus.
It is one thing to hit a crisis and pray in reaction… but it is quite another to live a life of prayer and have reserves of spiritual force, wisdom, and peace from which to draw when Satan is threatening. This is the lifestyle Jesus wanted his twelve to live. (WOW!)
Here are a few suggestions to improve your prayer life…
Keep a journal to help you as you pray. A three ring binder, divided into sections, will help you stay focused as you pray. Have sections that include at least: Kingdom Matters, Family (Self), Requests, Answers. Write down things to pray for/about as you become aware of them. This helps you stay focused.
Pray specifically, not generally. “God bless Jim and Jill” doesn’t get it. “Father help John and Susie” doesn’t either. Lift up to God exact requests. Ask God to move in ways that are clear. If my children came to me and said, “Dad, I need help…” and didn’t say anything else, well… they go without. So be clear when you pray to God.
Devote time and attention to prayer. That means setting aside time to pray. Prayer is more important than any book you read… any program on TV… any other thing you can do. But that last sentence is true ONLY if you believe that prayer IS that important… only IF you believe the God who answers prayer is powerful.
Nothing is important until it is personal. If/when prayer is important to you, the things mentioned above will not be a burden… you will want to employ them. If/when prayer is important… you will find yourself talking to others with an ear toward prayer and praying for others. If/when prayer to God fills your time, energy, and efforts… you will experience a rest and peace from God that will surprise you!
In conclusion, consider seriously what we find in Scripture about prayer…
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry (prayer).
Psalm 34:17 When the righteous cry for help (pray), the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on him (pray), to all who call on him (pray) in truth. 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry (prayer) and saves them.
Deuteronomy 4:7 What great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon (pray) him?
God has determined to accomplish His will and bring about His glory through the prayers of His people. Join God in His kingdom work through prayer!