Monday, October 26, 2009

Take a Stand for Prayer

This week I want to think about prayer. Praying is something all Christians talk about but most do far too little. I'm talking about myself here, too. The thing is, the prayer life is a private life. There is little accountability regarding time spent in prayer. Do you know how much time your pastor spends in prayer? Does he know how much time you spend in prayer? Would you each be embarrassed if the other knew?

Martin Luther is attributed with saying, "I have so much to do that I can't get it all done if I don't spend the first four hours of each day in prayer." In our society we look at that and say, "What?" Most of us have a hard time sustaining four minutes in prayer, and then in the back of our minds are the nagging thoughts of all we have to do that's not getting done because we're just "sitting" there. And we're just sitting there because we haven't really entered into the work of prayer. Our prayers are not earnest. They are not Spirit led. They are perfunctory. Shakespeare aptly wrote in Hamlet,

"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go" (Hamlet, Act III, Scene III).

Prayer is a discipline, partly of the mind, and partly of the heart. If the heart is not transformed to love God no amount of discipline of the mind can effect genuine prayer. Jonathan Edwards considered prayerlessness the tell-tale sign of a false Christian--one who is Christian in name only and not genuinely saved (see his sermon, "Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer" in vol II of The Works of Jonathan Edwards). Is it any wonder that our pulpits lack power, our witness is weak, and our world is the state it's in? We wring our hands and work our minds looking for the "method" that will bring the desired result but fail all the while to tap the power, the only power, than can effect real change in us and in our world--the power of God through Spirit driven prayer.


  1. A few weeks ago I heard a sermon on prayer and it really got me. The preacher could have been talking just to me. I seem to have ups and downs in my commitment to prayer and lately, more downs than ups. I study the WORD, but then I struggle with time of dedicated prayer. I prayer continuously, but not specifically and wholeheartedly. I am working on this. Thanks for the post.