As we begin a new year we look to put our best foot forward. We make plans and resolutions in the various areas of our lives. As a church we encourage you in two of the primary disciplines of Christian living: bible study and prayer. Last week Pastor Andrew covered bible study leaving prayer for this week. A common lament I hear from Christians is the struggle they have with prayer. They struggle to make room for it, they struggle in it, they even struggle to desire it. I would like to suggest it isn’t prayer itself that is your struggle, but priorities. So I wish to share two brief thoughts to help make prayer a priority in 2019: 1) seeing God correctly and 2) seeing ourselves correctly.
We set our priorities based on personal values, needs, and opportunities. The grim reality is that if prayer is not a current priority this reflects a personal decision regarding the value or need of prayer. We all have a list of excuses we may use, but the bottom line is until we want to we won’t. I believe the best way to change our won’t to a want to is to see God correctly. If we see God as he truly is: creator of everything, sustainer of everything, perfect wisdom, faithful love, Sovereign King; then how could we possibly not make prayer our top priority in life? Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do today I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Luther prioritized prayer because he valued God, seeing Him for who He truly is. The point is not Luther’s three hours (you are very unlikely to go from not praying to praying from 4am to 7am every morning!), but to value God and hence the time we spend with him.
Besides seeing God properly, Luther also saw himself as he truly was, which brings me to point 2. I can remember how wounded I felt when I first realized that the lack of prayer in my life illustrated an abundance of pride. By not praying I was saying, “I think I can handle this myself thank you very much.” Oh, I know few of us say this to God directly, but our actions speak louder than any direct words. When we see ourselves as dependent creatures, a life of dependent prayer is sure to follow. Jesus expressed this simply in the Lord’s Prayer from the Sermon on the Mount: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
I hope you find this helpful, but don’t hesitate to connect with me if you struggle in making prayer a priority.
Mission Action Prayer: Lord, help me to see you as you truly are, and myself as I truly am.
Mission Action Plan: Finally, take some practical measures to help grow in your life of prayer. Consider these three R’s:
Regular – This should come as we reset our values and needs, but a set time and place for prayer greatly aids the discipline of prayer.
Routine – Besides a set time of prayer, learn to be mindful of the Lord throughout the day. Many routine tasks in life afford us the chance to commune with the Lord.
Remind – Use technology to your advantage. Why not set reminders to notify you of people, events, or circumstances to pray for.
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.