Are you content with your prayer life? Are you seeing the promises of God come to pass?
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16
Prayer is a multi-faceted practice. It is a conversation with our Heavenly Father, and also a service to the Kingdom of God. It is one of the most essential disciplines for every child of God and should be foundational in our lives.
But I don’t know of many who are content with their prayer life.
A freind told me a story recently about someone moving to a metro area, and scouring the internet for a church with an obvious focus on prayer. And to her discouragement, there were only two in hundreds that displayed prayer as a priority.
That’s not to say that many of them didn’t have prayer established, but it was telling, and I’d say, reflective of what we all know to be true.
In the twenty years that we attended our former church, only a handful of times did we get a turnout of over 15 people to show up for an advertised prayer meeting.
But the Bible studies are well attended. The events we hosted were well attended. People make time for preaching, teaching and singing. And even when we tack prayer on to those gatherings, we tend to talk more than we pray.
So, why not prayer? What is the issue?
In his book entitled “Prayer,” Timothy Keller encourages by reminding us that every worthwhile endeavor will be hard. Whether you are approaching a marathon, or seeking to shed 20lbs, there will be a fight to accomplish the goal.
And let’s not overlook the fact that we have an enemy who wants to CUT God’s power off. He knows what to target. He will aim every arrow and throw darts of distraction at key times in order to thwart God’s power from bringing life and healing and redemption to our circumstances, and to our family, friends and neighbors.
So how do we get the upper hand in this wrangling for the power of God to be active in our lives?
How do we effectively apprehend the promises of God for our families and neighbors . . . and equally important, but given far less attention, how do we apprehend the promises of God for His mission given to His Bride while we wait for His return? Where does motivation to pray come from?
We need to know and remind ourselves of the call to pray and the rewards promised by Jesus for our prayers.
Jesus talks about rewards a lot in the gospels, and we talk about them very little. Matthew 6:3-4 promises rewards for giving. Matthew 6:5-6 and Matthew 6:17-18 promise rewards for prayer and fasting.
And Revelation 5:8 shows us that our prayers are incense to God, and He keeps them in bowls.
I found as I looked into the significance of incense to God, that it is representative of worship, which to God, is our affection for Him.
For someone who’s main love language is quality time, I get that. God is delighted when we engage with Him by taking in His word and then seeking Him and what He has promised to His children in order for His will to be accomplished on the earth. Matthew 6:10
A few years ago, when my husband was traveling for work and I was caring for our hobby farm without him, our son happened to be doing his second year of college online and staying at home. He was so busy with work and school, but he took the time to gather the wood out of our shed, haul it up to the house and toss it in the basement for me.
I cherish the gift of him taking care of that with a happy heart. [And this photo depicting his hard work maybe is a little like incense [?] because I see it and am reminded of my joy.]
Besides the fact that God is a good, good Father, and loves to show Himself strong on our behalf, He cherishes our prayers, so much so, that He keeps them and will reward them in Heaven.
Want to pray?
Father, please forgive me for my prayerlessness. I admit that I am easily distracted and don’t make it the priority that I want to – or that I need to. Please help me make a date with you every day. A time when I will get on my knees, or on my face, or talk out loud with you while I am driving, and help me seek to pray with others. Help me take note of the opportunity to pray with others and jump in without reservation or excuses. May I please You and may Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. IN Jesus’ name, amen.
[For more encouragement, watch this video]