“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 (NIV)
Prayer was never meant to be a side dish. Jesus assumed “when” we pray, not if (Matthew 6:5). And that “when” was not simply to be an occasional wish list or a call for help from the “man upstairs!” Prayer is meant to be our vital artery to heaven. But why is it so neglected? And why is it that most prayer gatherings are the poorest attended activity of a church?
Our prayerlessness is merely a symptom of something very serious, a much deeper problem. If it was a natural symptom we’d be rushing people to Urgent Care. The bottom line is, if you are not praying, you are not breathing spiritually! Here are just a few things that prayerlessness reveals…
• It reveals a lukewarm faith
• It exposes doubt of the effectiveness of prayer
• It is actually a sign of disobedience
• It is evidence of a lack of trust in God
• It shows the inadequate understanding of prayer
Yes, prayerlessness reveals the true condition of one’s heart. Your prayer life is a good barometer of where you are with God! If you’re not praying I guarantee you are not close to God! Do not be deceived, a prayerless life is a powerless life. It is a misdirected and wasted life! If you do not sow in prayer, you will not reap God’s blessings (Galatians 6:7-10).
Here are a few quotes from significant world changers about the necessity of prayer…
• John Wesley would say that “God does nothing except in answer to prayer!”
• EM Bounds said, “Nothing is more important to God than prayer in dealing with mankind… He who does not pray, therefore, robs himself of God’s help and places God where He cannot help man” (Weapon of Prayer, p.11).
• Leonard Ravenhill said, “No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying” (Why Revival Tarries, p.23).
• And finally, Andrew Murray said, “That Christ meant prayer to be the great power by which His Church should do its work, and that the neglect of prayer is the great reason the Church lacks greater power over the masses in Christian and heathen nations” (The Ministry of Intercessory Prayer, p.12).
It’s not whether you pray five minutes a day or five hours. What matters is are you connecting with the heart of God and directing the affairs of man via your requests, petitions, and intercession? And obviously, that cannot happen on the fly! In the midst of Jesus’ busy schedule, He would often withdraw to spend time with His Father (Luke 5:16). If Jesus had to spend time with His Father, how much more should we?
As we step into 2022, purpose in your heart to become a house of prayer, someone who is known as a praying person. Look for opportunities to join others in prayer. Ask God for a grace to increase your prayer time and improve your prayer life! Ask God to search your heart and reveal any unbelief, lukewarmness, lack of trust or disappointment with God from previous prayers seemingly going unanswered. Ask Him to teach you how to pray powerfully and effective. Ask Him to draw your pastor into a deeper prayer life in 2022, and that your church would become a house of prayer and experience the joy that comes from being in God’s presence (Isaiah 56:7). May you and your church become a part of the growing citywide prayer movement!