Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Prayer And The Christian Life

COLOSSIANS 4:2 – Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;”

THEME OF THE DAY: PRAYER AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.  How would we define prayer?  Talking to God?  Asking God for things or for Him to do something?  One of the best definitions on prayer ever penned came from the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.  Read over it slowly, ponder it deeply, and have our prayer lives changed by it.  He wrote, “Prayer is the sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to his Word, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God.”

How good is that?  It not only is rooted in the Word and will of God, but is trinitarian, emphasizes relationship or fellowship with God, and involves the heart, mind, and will. And for prayer to fulfill the command in today’s scripture and meet the description provided by Bunyan, three things must be determined in our lives about prayer.

First, prayer must be a non-negotiable practice in the Christian life, and not just a “have” to but a discipline of delight.  The supreme example of this is the Lord Jesus.  We read of His regular practice – Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed (Mark 1:35).  Why did God pray to God?  Because the Son longed for fellowship with His Father.  And for us?  We should find ourselves longing for prayer for that same reason; to be with God. Prayer is the language of love and the practice of prayer is an indication of our love for God.

Next, prayer is not a last resort in difficult times but the first resort.  Remember when James, the brother of John and one of the early church leaders was killed by Herod? He also had Peter arrested and no doubt wanted to kill him too!  Imagine how the early church felt. No doubt, they were afraid, fearful, and easy prey for paralyzing anxiety as their leaders were snatched away.  What did they do?  Luke records their action in the twelfth chapter of the book of Acts – So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church (Acts 12:5). Prayer was a priority for the church seeking Peter’s release. It was not the last resort, but the first.  And if we understand prayer right, it will be so for us as well when difficulties come upon us.

Finally, prayer is an act of displaying love to the Lord.  Go back to the scripture of the day.  What is it?  A command.  What does Jesus say is the evidence of our love for Him?  Obedience to His commands – “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15) and “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).  So in a very real way, to neglect prayer is to disobey God.  And to not pray as defined by Bunyan, and in the spirit of thanksgiving directed by the Apostle Paul, would also be an act of disobedience.

Prayer and the Christian life.  It is an indispensable aspect in the Christian life, and not just prayer asking God for things or to do something.  It is the prayer that encompasses our hearts, minds, and wills with a deep longing to know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (John 17:3).

PRAYER: “Father, may prayer be my first resort and line of defense and strength when faced with great trials.”

QUOTE: “Prayer should be the first thing we do not only in tough situations but as a priority in all of life.”

In the affection of Christ Jesus,

Pastor Jim