By Terry Hoskins, Pastor of the Family Church –
What does it mean to have a prayer life? Is it more than just an occasional prayer going up before a meal? More than the occasional prayer for so and so to get better? The difference of having a prayer life or not is this: Does your life depend on prayer or is prayer sprinkled into your life occasionally? I fear that most of us live our Christian lives like cars out of gas, without prayer we don’t get very far. We have said with our lips that we love God, and we want to follow Him, yet our lives often reflect a pathetic image of true Christianity. There are various reasons for the lack of faithfulness to God, but it starts with our prayer life. Leonard Ravenhill says, “that no man is better than his prayer life.”
Obedience: “Pray without Ceasing”
–1 Thessalonians 5:17
Why should we pray? Is it because there is power in prayer or that we see people healed from prayer, or that it strengthens us? All these are important aspects of prayer, but there is a far greater reason why we should pray, and it is simply this, God COMMANDS us to pray. We often overlook the fact that we MUST obey God. We as humans look at the benefits of what we can get from God over obeying Him. God is God and He deserves our lives as He is the One who gives us our very next breath. If our heart is following God for the blessings instead of the fact that He is God, then we are self-centered and doing things for the wrong reasons. God’s Word warns us when it says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 5:7-8, NIV) We can either please ourselves which will lead to destruction or we can please God which will lead to eternal life. A good gage to see if we are pleasing God or ourselves is to take a close look at our prayer life.
Relationship: “Jesus..went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”–Mark 1:35
Our relationship with God is developed in our prayer life. If no prayer life, then no depth of relationship. How can we possibly say that we are building a relationship with God, and not be praying? Jesus prayed continually because of His great love and submission to the Father. Scripture is clear that Christ prayed often all night because of His love to the Father. Was Christ more in need of prayer than us today? Of course not, but we are so busy, right? We are busy, but busy isn’t an excuse not to pray. We have so much on our plates that only a thriving relationship with Christ will get us through it all. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV) Who do we trust in today, ourselves or God? Prayer places our dependence on Christ instead of ourselves. We say we trust in Christ for everything, yet practically we think and act like the world, as we accomplish everything in our own strength. We will never walk on the straight path without God’s guidance, we will continue to fall by the wayside because we are HELPLESS without God.
Praying When You Don’t Feel Like It
Why is it that most Christians have a hard time developing and thriving in a prayer life that truly depends on God? The truth of the matter is that most of the time our flesh holds us back and we don’t desire to spend more than 2 minutes in prayer. We must press on in prayer even when we don’t feel like it and discipline ourselves to pray. The more we choose to pray and ask God to help us desire to pray, then the more it will become the delight of our hearts.
God, help us to pray to be in obedience to your word, to pray to be in relationship with you and give us the desire to pray during the many times we honestly don’t feel like it, so that we may grow in your Spirit and live to please you.