I don’t pray enough. I believe prayer matters. I believe it’s powerful and essential. Yet, there are times in my life when I find myself severely lacking in this area. This is especially true when you consider the way that scripture speaks about prayer: pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17), pray about everything (Phil. 4:6), devote yourself to prayer (Col. 4:2), and throughout the Psalms David gives us an example of someone who has a consistent and intense prayer life. I fall short of this standard. Maybe you do as well.
Have you ever preached a message that you knew was just as much for you as it was for the people in the audience? That is the exact feeling that I have writing this for all of you. I want to encourage you to grow in the discipline of prayer while at the same time knowing that it is a place for growth personally. And yes, discipline is the right word there. Being a person like David who ran, no, sprinted to prayer takes discipline. It is a habit that we need to form in our lives over time. You can’t wake up tomorrow and start a new habit of discipline. To be a person of prayer will require us to carve out time in our busy schedules. It will cause us to think differently about the many things that flood our lives each day. Being a person of prayer will require sacrifice from us. It is worth it.
Richard Foster is a theologian and author probably most known for his book Celebration of Discipline. I’ve read it several times both personally and with groups of students in discipleship throughout the years. It is in my top 10 and each time I read it I find it extremely helpful and convicting. Here are just a few things that Foster says about prayer:
“Of all spiritual disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father.”
“Prayer frees us to be controlled by God.”
“To pray is to change. All who have walked with God have viewed prayer as the main business of their lives.”
“For those explorers in the frontiers of faith, prayer was no little habit tacked on to the periphery of their lives; it was their lives. It was the most serious work of their most productive years. Prayer – nothing draws us closer to the heart of God.”
Imagine what our lives, families, and ministries would look like if prayer moved from the periphery to the core. It can. Be disciplined. Trust in the work of the Holy Spirit to continually push you towards the Father. It’s time that we make time for the things that really matter.
This post was written by Ben Trueblood, Director of LifeWay Student Ministry