May10WedMay 10, 2017
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honor of a Christian.”
Indeed, directly seeking the face of God and laying our anxieties at His feet through prayer is a tremendous honor. However, the act of praying doesn’t always feel like an honor. Perhaps this is because our minds have been influenced by the cynicism which prevails in our Western culture. Without much effort, we may convince ourselves that God doesn’t care about our petty requests or that He is really not in control of all things. The act of prayer then becomes either pointless or an exercise in wishful thinking.
Of course, neither of those are true. Prayer IS an honor and IS effective. Why? Because every prayer from the lips of a believer comes before the Lord through Jesus (Revelation 5:8b) and our Heavenly Father eagerly longs to give justice on behalf of those who cry out to him day and night (Luke 18:7).
Perhaps you don’t struggle with cynicism cancelling out your prayer life. But, to be honest, I do. I shared in our small group that it’s very easy for me to convince myself out of praying. I can either convince myself that “God already knows,” or that it’s better for the pastor to keep moving between people, studying and church administration. Instead, church leaders like Dietrich Bonhoeffer boldly declare, “For the pastor, [prayer] is an indispensable duty and his whole ministry will depend on it” (from Life Together). Prayer is absolutely essential for long-term, fruitful ministry.
Prayer is also essential for faithful Christian living. Jesus boldly declared, “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Paul Miller, the author of the book our small groups are reading, recommends that we can battle cynicism by reminding ourselves to approach God the Father with the humility and persistence of a little child. After all, Jesus said that if we want to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven, we need to humble ourselves like a child (Matthew 18:4). And, remarkably, a child-like spirit does destroy cynicism. At least it does for me! Children bring their requests to their parents boldly and often. This ought to be our posture as well.
As you study the Word this week and take time to pray, remember that your time before the Lord is essential and precious. It becomes even more precious when we begin to recognize our absolute need for Him. Not only does He hear every need, but He also longs to spend time with us. What an honor it is to pray!