By: Gary Hutchens
Are you praying? The apostle Paul instructed that we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Following to his instruction to put on “the whole armor of God,” (Eph. 6:11-17), He added, “praying always with all prayer and supplication” (vs. 18). Jesus used an entire parable to emphasize “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Lk. 18:1-8). Obviously, prayer ought to be a central feature of a Christian’s life.
Once again the question, Are you praying? A follow-up question would be, How often do you pray? 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 persistence in prayer (Lk. 11:5-10). Do you pray every morning before you take on the day? Do you pray over the food you eat at each meal during the day? Do you pray each evening before you call it a day and close your eyes for the night? Do you pray at other times during the day as you think of a need, either in your own life or that of someone else? Do you pray when you think about how much you have for which to be thankful? Do you pray with your family?
What is your mindset when you pray? A basic theme in all of the texts cited is that prayer can make a difference, prayer can change things. Do you have confidence that your prayers can make a difference? “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (Jas. 5:16). Do you trust God to keep His word that He will listen to and answer your prayers (1 Jn. 5:14-15)?
God wants you to pray to Him (Jer. 29:12; 33:3). He is the giver of all blessings (Jas. 1:17). His power can change things as He answers your prayers (Eph. 3:20). But He wants you to ask. James stated succinctly, “...you do not have because you do not ask” (Jas. 4:2).
Are you praying for those 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 elders, deacons, preacher, and teachers? Are you praying for our youth to grow up to be strong, dedicated Christians? Are you praying for the work we are doing to teach the gospel in this area and around the world? Are you praying for souls?
Each one of us can pray, and your prayers are important and needed. So, again the question, Are you praying?...
Gary L. Hutchens