I don’t pray enough. Sometimes it’s the first thing I consider. Sometimes the last. But I don’t give prayer the importance it should have. Throughout Scriptures, the Lord Himself yearns for us to pray:
Seek Me and you shall find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart…
Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy burdened.
Seek, and you will find, ask, and it will be given, knock ,and the door will be opened.
Cast all your cares on me…
But we are accomplishment-driven and work-orientated. Prevalent in more and more churches, is an increased emphasis on doing—something, anything. Prayer is regarded as an afterthought, or at best, a blessing on our works, and community service or some ‘worthy’ activity becomes elevated to True Faith.
I’ve been reading The Purpose in Prayer, by E.M. Bounds, a godly man who wrote much, ministered much, and prayed much in the last century. These are some of his thoughts on prayer:
“This is not a praying age; it is an age of great activity, of great movements, but one in which the tendency is very strong to stress the seen and the material and to neglect and discount the unseen and spiritual. Prayer is the greatest of all forces because it honors God and brings Him into active aid.”
I don’t always recognize that prayer IS an activity. I’d much rather give an account of my time with a list of accomplishments. Bounds continues:
“Prayer honors God; it dishonors self…Prayer is not the foe to work; it does not paralyze activity. It works mightily; prayer itself is the greatest work!”
All our works, even spiritual one, can tend to be self-honouring. But how can we be prideful of prayer–no one sees us, do they?
“A holy life does not live in the closet of prayer, but it cannot live without [it]. The closet is the base of supplies for the Christian and the Church. Cut off from it, there is nothing left but retreat and disaster.”
Our personal feebleness and the decline of strength we see in our churches is directly related to our insufficient prayer life. Jesus went away often to prayer–how much more should we. There is no substitute.