Meditations for Troubled Times
The Importance of Prayer
“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” (2 Corinthians 1:11) “I desire that the men pray everywhere.” (1 Timothy 2:8) “…pray without ceasing....” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Paul exhorts us to pray everywhere and without ceasing. Is this because he knows that we are prone to grow weary of praying? As we face Covid-19, let us not grow lackadaisical with our prayer life. Let us use this opportunity to commune with God more than ever.
Prayer is one of the most, if not the most, important part of living the Christian life. J.C. Ryle notes, as important as other things are, “none are as important as private prayer.” God graciously has given us direct access to the throne of grace, and we can and must utilize this gift every day. Prayer is a sure mark of the Christian.
In troublesome times, we can become weary in prayer. We do not see immediate answers; circumstances do not appear to be getting better or may even be getting worse. We begin to doubt and question if God is listening. However, the Bible and our own lives are full of examples that God hears the cries of his people; he hears and cares. Further, we know he works out all things for good for those that love him (Romans 8:28). Granted, he does not work on our timetable or always in the manner that we think best, but his timing and methods are perfect.
Jesus opened the way for us to draw near to the Father by his sacrifice on the cross. The temple veil was torn in two (Luke 23:45), and, through Jesus’ name, we now may draw near to God with boldness and pray with confidence. We also have the gift of the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26). What an encouragement it is that God has given us these means to approach him with our petitions!
We see the power of prayer throughout Scripture: the parting of the Red Sea, water from a rock, the sun standing still, and many more. God used the prayers of his people to accomplish these impossible things. What greater encouragement for us to be a people of prayer! What great foolishness is there when we neglect prayer!
This present world is one of sorrow, and the Covid-19 epidemic is just evidence of this. But we can obtain joy and contentment in this life by praying more than ever and drawing nearer to our God. We must see prayer as the most important activity of each day and incorporate it into our daily routines. James tells us to be fervent in our prayers (James 5:16). We must expect answers to and ask for much in our prayers (James 4:2). But we must remember to pray for God’s will, not ours, to be done as we bring our petitions for ourselves and others to the Lord.
Psalm 55:22 states, “Cast your burdens on the Lord, and he will sustain you….” Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” What did Jacob do when meeting Esau (Genesis 32)? What did Paul and Silas do when they were thrown into prison in Philippi (Acts 16)? They prayed!
Brothers and sisters, there is no good reason to neglect praying. How do we get to know people better? By spending time with them in meaningful conversations. The same is true for God and us. We must spend time with him daily, expressing our hearts and communicating our desires to him. Do not neglect this! Remember, the devil hates it when we pray. Therefore, let us redeem the time and be a people who pray everywhere and without ceasing!