How’s Your Prayer Life?

child_prayingHow’s your prayer life? I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that it is not very good. After all, we are still sinners, who, at our very core, struggle forward in our relationship with God. We set our alarms to wake up an hour early, re-dedicating our lives to be devoted to prayer, and time with God.

But then we wake up and hit the snooze button.

Or maybe your prayers don’t lack consistency, but certainly lack substance. You pray the same rigid and repetitive prayers you’ve been praying for years, and have become quite shallow in your prayer life, which, ultimately, has affected your relationship with God.

Prayer is the means whereby we communicate with God, cast our cares upon God, confess ourselves before God, and exult in His glory.

Prayer should be done, even when we do not feel like it, because it is precisely when we don’t feel like it, that our relationship with God is open to compromise. Jesus tells His disciples, in the Gospel according to Matthew, to “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41, emphasis mine).

Yes, do come to God with your petitions, and yes, do thank God for His healing power, or even for that new promotion at work. Thank God, through prayer, in all things. Come to God, in prayer, for all things. But come to God in prayer, nonetheless.

Christ, our Great High Priest, through the shedding of His blood, has secured for us unlimited access to the presence of God. Therefore, we may boldly go where no one before Christ has gone before (unless, of course, you were a Levite, chosen as the High Priest).

The book of Hebrews reminds us that “since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus … let us draw near [to God]” (Heb. 10:19,22).

Be confident that Christ has paved the way, for you, into the presence of God, and pray. Pray often. Pray when you do not feel like praying. After all, quality time in prayer really only comes through the quantity of time you spend praying.

Tim Keller, in his new book entitled Prayer (a must read!), writes the following:

Just prior to giving his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus offered some preliminary ideas, including this one : “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. . . . But when you pray , go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen . . . in secret” (Matt 6: 5– 6). The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life. Many people will pray when they are required by cultural or social expectations , or perhaps by the anxiety caused by troubling circumstances. Those with a genuinely lived relationship with God as Father, however, will inwardly want to pray and therefore will pray even though nothing on the outside is pressing them to do so. They pursue it even during times of spiritual dryness, when there is no social or experiential payoff.[1]

Do you even want to pray? Keller is saying that if we do not desire to pray, then something is detrimentally wrong with our spiritual state. Our relationship with God depends upon the time we spend with God, in prayer. Prayer is essential to our spiritual being.

So then, what’s left to do but to pray?

[1] Keller, Timothy (2014-11-04). Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (p. 23). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

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