May 31, 2012
Prayer is hard.
My mind wanders — did I answer that person’s email?
Other things seem really important — maybe I should take out the trash.
Excuses arise — I’ll feel more like praying after American Idol.
And yet …
Jesus — our Savior — who created us, loves us, died for us — calls us to pray.
With perfect wisdom and abounding love He looks us in the eye and says —
- “pray always” (Luke 18:1)
- “pray persistently” (Luke 11:8)
- “pray earnestly” (Mat 9:38)
So how can we grow in prayer?
What’s behind prayerlessness?
The Bible teaches that obedience flows from faith in God’s promises (Heb 11:8; Rom 1:5).
So if I’m not praying — it’s because I’m not trusting God’s promises about prayer.
Which means there’s something I can do besides just trying harder.
What I can do is find the promises I’m not trusting — and pray over them until the Holy Spirit strengthens my faith in them.
Then — when I am trusting God’s promises about prayer — I will pray.
Here’s my challenge
If you have been weak in prayer, take a few minutes every day for the next week and —
- confess your unbelief (1 John 1:9)
- ask Jesus to strengthen your faith in His promises (Mark 9:24)
- prayerfully meditate on His promises about prayer (Rom 10:17)
Then watch how the Holy Spirit increases your faith and your desire to pray.
How can I be so sure that will happen? Because of Scriptures like Mark 9:24, Luke 11:13, and Rom 10:17.
So what promises should you use?
Here are some that I have found helpful —
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Mat 6:6)
Rewards. Jesus wants us to be motivated by rewards.
He wants us to think — I am going to pray now — because God in His mercy will then reward me.
So — when was the last time you thought that way?
But — what is the reward? That’s the next promise —
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
We all have heart-hungers — for joy, peace, and pleasure.
Jesus is the bread of life that satisfies all our heart-hungers — not with what He gives — but with who He is.
When we experience Jesus Himself — His love, His glory, His majesty — our hearts are fully satisfied.
And how do we experience this? By praying — coming to Him and believing in Him.
Prayer brings you to the only One who can fully satisfy your heart.
So — pray.
And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. (Psa 50:15)
Whatever trouble you face — if you will call upon God in Jesus’ name — He will deliver you.
Sometimes God delivers by removing us from the trouble.
Other times He delivers by giving us everything we need in the trouble.
But every time you face trouble — and call upon God — He will deliver you.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Mat 7:7-8)
I often quote this promise as I begin to pray, because it is SO encouraging.
Everyone who asks — receives. So if you will pray — He promises — you will receive.
You will receive exactly what you are asking for — or something even better — which you probably would not have received had you not asked.
But this will only happen if we ask. So — ask.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. (Psa 86:5)
Abounding means overflowing, cup running over, more than you need.
And He will abound in steadfast love to all who call upon Him.
So — as you call upon God through Jesus Christ — it’s absolutely certain what will happen —
He will abound in steadfast love to you.
If — you call upon Him. So — pray.
You do not have, because you do not ask. (Jam 4:2)
God is sovereign over everything.
But — there’s mystery here — in His sovereignty God has chosen to work through my prayers.
Which is why James says there are things God would have given me — that He did not give me — because I didn’t ask.
Which is why it’s so urgent that we pray.
So — pray.
Comments? Feedback? Questions?
I’d love to hear them — leave a reply below. Thanks.
Do you know someone who would be helped by reading this? Email it to them using the “share” button below — or use the buttons to share it on social media.
If you would like to receive a Saturday email summarizing the week’s posts — subscribe here. (I will only use your email address for Living By Faith Blog communications — and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.)
And here’s some related posts you might find helpful —
A simple step that changed my prayer life
Praying -- but distracted
Are you discouraged in prayer?
Why keep praying when we're feeling dull?
(Picture is by nighthawk7 at everystockphoto.)