Too many of us act like prayer is a secondary or even tertiary level activity for Christians. We act like prayer is doing nothing, and frankly speaking, it does look like it is not doing much, doesn’t it? Sitting in a room and talking about things to God doesn’t seem on the same level of preaching to a congregation, teaching a group of Sunday school kids, caring for the poor, or sharing God’s Word with people who don’t yet believe. Prayer can even seem lazy because it looks like the pray-er is merely sitting and not working at all.
This is a huge mistake. Paul writes in Ephesians 6 about Spiritual Warfare, and tells us that prayer is the way we fight. Read these verses now, and notice that all the preparation and getting dressed ends with Paul’s exhortation to PRAY! Obviously he thinks prayer is extremely important. It’s how we fight the good fight!
“Prayer is our working relationship with God. Every praying Christian must understand that his or her prayers are not simply ‘support’ for various missions. They are the real work of missions. When done properly, they make it possible for the missionaries to perform the ‘mop up’ operation! Wesley Duewel, a former missionary to India and a teacher of prayer, tells how his mission struggled for twenty-five years as it planted one new church a year. The missionaries decided that something was wrong, so they enlisted a thousand people to pray daily. In the next few years the mission exploded from 25 to more than 550 churches and from 2,000 to nearly 75,000 believers.
God intended for prayer to be the means by which we join with Him in His work of redeeming the world. When He invited us to ‘ask and receive,’ He was not implying that He would ‘do it anyway’ if we did not ask. One of the most damaging beliefs the Devil plants in our minds is that prayer does not matter, as though God will do what He wants to do, whether we pray or not…
…The majority of Western Christians do not understand this ‘working relationship’ with God through prayer. In our arrogance we think God needs our money, our five-year plans, and our organizational expertise. But this is not what God desires of us. He wants us to maintain a working, traveling relationship with Him. He wants us to pray constantly, asking Him to shine His light and to shower His life-giving blessings on specific people and areas that need to know Him.” (p. 53-56)
I am convicted by this. Are you? I often allow the devil to deceive me into thinking that God will do it anyway. Lord, forgive me for not using your gift of prayer. Give me a heart of prayer, and help me lead Messiah Lutheran Church to be a congregation that works, not by our strength, ideas, and money; but by prayer!