The Discipline of Prayer
Why do you pray? Some of you would say because Jesus expects us to pray. He told His disciples that they should “always pray” (Luke 18:1). The Apostle Paul also makes it clear that we should pray when he writes, “Devote yourselves to prayer” (Colossians 4:2). But why do you pray?
You see, most of us don’t pray because Jesus expects us to pray or because the Apostle Paul writes that we should. Most of us pray out of desperation. People who are going through marital problems and are facing divorce pray. People who have children that run away pray. People who hear from a doctor that the lab reports show that it is cancer pray. When we reach the end our own abilities or the limit of our resources, we pray. In those moments of crises, prayer becomes instinctive and we pray without even thinking about it. We pray because prayer changes things.
Another reason we pray is because prayer feeds the soul. There is a pattern of Jesus’ life that the disciples noticed. Whenever Jesus reached a crisis point, when He experienced need, when He was tired, His consistent response was to pray. Wanting to be nourished by prayer the same way Jesus was, they asked him to teach them, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
You see prayer is a learned behavior. We aren’t born experts in prayer and we don’t master prayer. Prayer doesn’t happen automatically, it requires us to be purposeful in the practice of this discipline. It means picking a time and choosing a place that works best for you to pray. Then prepare yourself in a way that allows you to give your attention to God. We live in a world full of distraction and chaos that takes our attention away from God during times of prayer. When this happens to me, I whisper, “Jesus, show me your face.” This allows me to be fully present and focused on Him, because it is through prayer that the human heart is knitted with the heart of God.
Prayer changes things and we all know people in our lives who are going through circumstances that need to be changed. This week intercede on another person’s behalf. When we do that, God is at work in ways we do not understand. When you intercede for another, you don’t know how that person may be strengthened; you don’t realize how they might be encouraged or if healing comes to their body because you prayed for them. Prayer changes things and where there is prayer there is love. So pray!
"For nothing is impossible with God." - Luke 1:37