There is a consistent thread running throughout Christian history of the need to pray. Calling upon God’s name for God’s intervention, making confession and thanksgiving, those elements are not only running throughout scripture but are also a part of the Christian Church’s landscape we recognise and respect. There is no active Christian who would declare that prayer was inessential to a vibrant Christian life and no church believes that prayer is not a significant channel along which God’s grace flows into this world.
Yet, if we take a moment of sober and honest reflection, we might be challenged by our own lack of investment in prayer, us regular Joes who are instructed to pray regularly. Jesus set the pattern throughout his ministry on earth, withdrawing regularly to spend time in prayer.
Indeed, I’ve spoken to many people who associate prayer with quietness and silence. I remember when I had a toddler wandering around, I was always up early in the morning, my favourite time to spend some time in prayer and read some scripture. Well, she decided that she wanted to be with me, and I discovered the skill of praying while being crawled over.
And that truly is a picture of prayer. Even when we cannot understand the whys and the wherefore of the life that surrounds us, we can continue to call out to God. One question this presents to each one of us is the value we place in the activity of prayer. It is a Christian distinctive to recognise that God hears and heeds the prayers of the Church, of you and me.
Therefore there can be no greater service to God than to pray for a struggling world, while also to call upon God’s name when life is bleak for us. Prayer changes the external world around me, as well as changing me directly; I see differently, think differently and begin to live differently.
QUESTION: How much time and attention do you invest in prayer?
PRAYER: Gracious King, teach me how to pray.