In my last article I talked about the need for every believer to develop a disciplined prayer life, and that if you persist in that discipline, it will turn into delight. I also emphasized that prayer is an opportunity to really get to know our God. We need to come into His presence with honor and respect before we start to bombard Him with all our requests. I want to continue with some more important aspects of prayer with hope that every reader will be encouraged and even excited to develop a true prayer life with almighty God.
I told a story in the last article about how I made a New Year’s resolution that I was going to start off every morning with at least five minutes of prayer. I shared how that five minutes of prayer grew to fifteen and even twenty minutes. That was the beginning of my prayer life with my Father. There was another time in my life, back in the mid-nineties when I was sensing the call of God on my life and I was feeling a conviction about my prayer life. I owned a construction business and it was quite consuming. If I wanted any type of extended prayer time in the morning hours it meant I had to rise earlier than normal so I would not be interrupted by phone calls and employees coming over to the house. I worked hard so my sleep was very important. One morning I was down in my basement pacing while I was praying. I was feeling the conviction of God to give Him more of my time in the morning to pray. In my mind I thought an hour of prayer seemed reasonable since Jesus said to Peter, “…couldest not thou watch one hour” (Mark 14:37)? As I was praying that morning I started to reason with God that I would soon be going into the ministry. So I told God that when He puts me in that place of ministry then I will be able to set that time aside to pray. He immediately responded to my comment by saying, “No, you learn to pray first and then you will be ready for the ministry.” Though it was not in audible words that I heard Him, it was loud and clear to my heart. From that day on I understood that I can never serve God and His sheep unless I really know Him and I can’t really know Him unless I talk with Him. From that day I also started an extended prayer life that continues to this day. I am so grateful to God that He helped me with my prayer life because it was only a few years after that in which I became a minister while continuing to run my business all the way to 2011. Through all those years, my mornings were devoted to seek my God and still are to this day. I have told you these testimonies not to boast on my prayer life, but to encourage you. If you are determined to have an exciting, yes exciting prayer life, it is within your grasp.
We have a shortage of praying saints today, yet prayer is one of the most important things we must do. We need saints who will be like the persistent widow.
“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:1-8)?
Jesus told this parable to let us believers know that He desires to answer our prayers, and that we must not give up praying. In real life, if a widow would determine that the judge was never going to avenger her, she would quit pestering him. She would be a fool to get up in the morning and plan a visit to the judge, if she knew that he would reject her plea. To get up and go see that judge everyday would take confidence on her part that the judge would avenge her. Though we can never wear God out, he invites us to go to Him in prayer, like we would to a human being who would eventually give in because of our persistence. Let me interject right here that it isn’t self- centered prayers that God answers, but prayers that are according to His will. If you do pray according to God’s will then He is giving you assurance that He will answer.
There are a many reasons Christians struggle with prayer. Let me give you two reasons.
The first reason is that some Christians haven’t fully committed themselves to the Lord. They are living a carnal life by practicing sin and loving things of this world. It is only reasonable to understand that if a Christian is not in a right relationship with God he is not going to be too anxious to spend time with God. Just as a child who is disobeying mom and she says to him, “Wait until your father gets home,” that child is not excited about Dad coming home. If you are not living a life that pleases God you will tend to hide out from Him instead of longing for His presence. Adam and Eve use to meet with God in the cool of the day until they disobeyed Him, then they began hiding from Him.
The second reason saints don’t pray as they should is because they lack faith to petition God. When I was a kid, almost every time I asked my Dad for a dollar or two, he would give it to me. Since I knew he was willing to give me the money I had no problem approaching him to ask him. I never asked my Dad to give me a hundred dollars because I didn’t believe he would give it to me. The same thing holds true when we pray to God. When we pray to God, according to His will and believing He will hear our prayer, He is more than delighted to answer that prayer. After all, doesn’t He want the will of the Father done? Jesus said, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:12). I need to clarify again that we must pray according to His will. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy will be done.”
My prayer and hope is that every Christian understands the need to pray, especially in this dark hour we live, and make a determination to have a thriving prayer life with almighty God. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).