“Prayer is our Christian duty. It is an expression of submission to God and dependence upon Him. For that matter, prayer is arguably the most objective measurement of our dependence upon God. Think of it this way. The things you pray about are the things you trust God to handle. The things you neglect to pray about are the things you trust you can handle on your own.” – H.B. Charles
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say my prayer life needs some work; like a lot. If I am alone, then well, that sucks. At any rate, I was driving to my hotel after work (out of town) and I may or may not have come across some Facebook posts while in traffic and something (OK, the Holy Spirit) struck me. Most of us are guilty of posting and expressing our emotions (for better or for worse) on social media in an effort to release and reach out for the attention of others (for better or for worse), yet there is a far better medium/platform in which to do so. This medium/platform however, isn’t for the masses or seeks the attention of many, it is for an audience of One. I am talking about prayer. If you’re like me this was an “oh yeah” moment. You see, prayer is that thing most of us turn to as a last resort and even then we do so hesitantly and/or frustratingly. Rhetorically, what if prayer wasn’t designed as a last resort? What if instead of releasing and expressing our emotions publicly (on social media mainly), we expressed ourselves to the One who is always present, always listening, always active and never-failing. When I read through the Psalms, this is what the likes of King David and others did throughout their lives. Though used in public and private settings, the Psalms often contain prayer language directed toward Yahweh.
Could it be that the ills and frustrations of life weigh us down so much because we choose to talk to everyone else about are problems except God? Could it be that the reason we experience little to no peace in our circumstances is because we have left out the One who is our Peace? Could it be that prayer is just not asking God for stuff, but more of an ongoing conversation between a loving Father and an ultra-dependent child? Could it be that our first response (joyful or mournful) ought to be to fall on our knees in prayer instead of our final response?
I know for many of us that our prayer life isn’t where it could be due to distractions (sinful and not sinful) and we are due for a much needed prayer overhaul. If you are like me, you probably don’t need to buy or read another book on prayer although books on the subject have proven to be useful. If you are like me, you don’t need to look up anymore famous quotes on prayer to be inspired. If you are like me, neglect in prayer is probably due to a neglect of Scripture that teaches and admonishes us to pray. So don’t take my word for it, here is is what the Bible says (emphasis mine):
- 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. – Romans 12:10-13
- 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Phil 4:6-7
- 8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. – Psalm 62:8
There are countless other passages on prayer and even entire teachings of Jesus devoted to prayer like in Matthew 6:5-15 and Luke 11:1-13. The point is to let life’s circumstances fuel your prayer life and even more than that, allow Scripture to fuel your prayer life. If you are like me, you just need to pray. There is really no excuse for any of us and we are the ultimate losers because we miss out on fellowship with God and the peace He promises to give.
So since we live in a world of #(insert)challenge‘s, I challenge all of us to pull away from the enter/send/post button and draw near to The “present help in time of trouble (and victory)”. #LetUsPray
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
– Joseph Scriven