April 12, 2010 2 Comments
Lately I have been very much challenged on the subject of prayer, especially when we have seen in the book of Acts how fundamental prayer was to everything the early church did. The discipline of prayer is not one which comes easily to me (am I alone in this?) and so I find myself having to be regularly re-inspired by the depth and power of the prayer-lives of those who have gone before.
I have been struck by the irrepressible prayer life of the apostle Paul which he, seemingly, could not keep from overflowing in his letters:
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,
The verse below, which I often recite to myself, sometimes challenges me in different ways - I have highlighted the word that impacts me most at the moment:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
It is a temptation to reserve prayer for the things ‘that really matter’, but if we want that ‘peace of God’ which Paul speaks of, then we should be bringing everything to Him in prayer – with thanksgiving! If the story of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus (Luke 17:11-19) is a true reflection of how Christians today behave, then only one in ten of us give thanks to God as we should (or alternatively, we only give thanks 10% of the time!) – so maybe I am not alone in struggling with this!
Robert Murray McCheyne was a man who was renowned for his passion in the place of prayer (and seeing God answer prayer). He regarded a believer’s prayer-life as a reliable barometer of his/her closeness to God:
What a man is on his knees before God, that he is – and nothing more.
So often I diminish time in prayer because I have so many ‘important’ things to get on with, but perhaps the most important of things is being neglected – time with God.