Are you praying? The apostle Paul exhorts us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Encouraging Christians to put on "the whole armor of God," (Ephesians 6:11-17), Paul further instructed them to be "praying always with all prayer and supplication" (verse 18). Jesus used an entire parable to emphasize "that men always ought to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1-8). Obviously, prayer ought to be an integral part of a Christian's life.
Once again the question, are you praying? A follow-up question would be, how often are you praying? The above scriptures emphasize not just that a Christian ought to pray, but that he ought to pray regularly, frequently, consistently. Note the emphasis: "pray without ceasing;" "praying always;" "men always ought to pray."
So, how often do you pray? In another text the Lord stressed the concept of persistence in prayer (Luke 11:5-10). Do you pray every morning before you take on the day? Do you pray each evening before you call it a day and close your eyes for the night? Do you pray over the food you eat at each meal during the day? Do you pray at other times during the day as you think of a need, either in your own life or in that of someone else, or of a reason to be thankful? Do you pray with the members of your family?
For what do you pray? A basic theme in all of the texts cited is that prayer can make a difference, prayer can change things. Do you pray in order to make a difference? Do you have confidence that your prayers can make a difference? Do you trust God to keep His word that He will listen to your prayers with care and that He will answer them (1 John 5:14-15)?
God wants you to pray to Him (Jeremiah 33:3). He is the giver of all blessings (James 1:17). It is His power that can change things as He answers your prayers (Ephesians 3:20). But, He does want you to ask. James states succinctly, "...you do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2).
Are you praying for those who are mentioned in the announcements each week as needing our prayers? Are you praying for those whose names are listed on the prayer list, some of them listed for many weeks? Are you praying for members who are hurting in their personal lives? Are you praying for members who are struggling in their faith and commitment, some of whom may not have been at services for quite some time?
Are you praying for the congregation? Are you praying for unity, harmony, and love to always prevail in order that we can be the proper example of Christianity before the world around us? Are you praying for our youth to grow up as strong, dedicated Christians? Are you praying that God will guide us to appoint good men as elders and deacons? Are you praying for the work that we are striving to do to teach the gospel in this area and around the world?
Each one of us can pray. Your prayers are important. Are you praying?
Gary L. Hutchens