Faith & Insight: What does it mean to have a praying life?
For the Nevada Appeal
In Matthew 7:7 (English Standard Version) Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Is Jesus giving us a blank check to ask God for anything? Will God give me what I ask Him for?
Jesus goes on to say, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask him.”
How many good things have you asked God for and He gave them to you? Are these words about the Christian getting from God or are they about the believer asking God?
Paul Miller, the author of “A Praying Life” has stated that “90 percent of all people in a church do not have a praying life.” He went on to say that “80 percent of all pastors do not have a praying life.”
I do not know about you, but it is hard to pray. Paul commands the believer in 2 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV) to “pray without ceasing.”
I pray, but do I pray without ceasing? I want a praying life. Am I willing to learn to have that kind of a life? What would our churches look like if we learned to have a praying life? What would our city look like if pastors prayed together and churches had times of prayer together throughout the year? Why is it so difficult for people who claim they believe in prayer to pray?
When a church is looking for a new pastor, you rarely hear of them looking for a man of prayer. We want a man who can preach well and draw crowds and be a dynamic leader, but do we ever consider that 50 percent of a pastor’s job description should be prayer?
I appreciate what Paul Miller says, “I am learning how to have a life of prayer through suffering.”
We do not think much about suffering in our society – we avoid it and when someone is suffering we often do not know what to do or how to respond. Miller says that suffering is so important in the process of learning how to pray.
I want to understand why so many do not pray and why so many struggle with prayer. I want to help encourage and challenge the people of God about prayer.
I have asked, “does it really make any difference if we pray or not?” I am sure you have asked or thought that as well. Sometimes people want to experience God or feel God, so they pray and they feel nothing. I am learning not to hunt for feeling in my prayers. I want to simply know God deeper. I want to submit to God. I want to enjoy God, so therefore, I must decide to put aside my emotions and focus on knowing Him. Knowing Him takes time, it takes focus, it takes learning to stop being busy and spend time with God.
A scripture that is often used around the time of the National Day of Prayer (which was Thursday) is 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV), ” If my people who are called be my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Revival in a nation starts in the lives of God’s people. Personal revival starts when we begin to pursue a praying life. Revival starts when we humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways, then we will hear from heaven
I want to start with revival in my own life. I want to pursue a real praying life. Would you consider pursuing a praying life this year? We want a lot of things to change but perhaps the real change needs to begin with God’s people.
• Ben Fleming is the pastor of Silver Hills Community Church