We pray to connect with and enjoy Jesus Christ
If you are a Christian, you pray. If you are a non-Christian, you pray. Hardly anyone, if you ask them if you could pray for them, turns you down. Almost every Christian tells themselves that they could pray more, and many say that they could pray better. One of the indicators to yourself that you are spirit-filled is that you have a growing prayer life. For some of us, if we are asked to pray out loud in front of others, many Christians are afraid and many refuse to.
Andrew Murray writes, “Prayer is one of the means and one of the fruits of our union with Christ.” He is saying that if you are in Christ, you pray, and if you want to connect with and enjoy Christ, you pray so the believer who grows actively in prayer grows in their enjoyment of Christ. Murray goes on to say, “Prayer is not so much a means as it is a fruit of abiding in Christ as in the parable of the Vine.” Jesus said in John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” The more you pray, the more you abide in Christ. The more you abide in Christ, the more you will be provoked to prayer.
When a doctoral student at Princeton asked, “What is there left in the world for original dissertation research?” Albert Einstein replied, “Find out about prayer. Somebody must find out about prayer.” Einstein was not a believer, but he knew prayer was mysterious. As Christians, we do not find out about prayer, but we are God’s children who pray and who learn to pray well. We must become communicators with the one who we say loves us and who we say that we love.
In Luke 18:1, Jesus tells us that we “ought to always pray and not lose heart.” Do you always pray? I do not. Do you ever lose heart in prayer? I do. The prophet Samuel said that when we cease to pray for people, we sin. Paul said in Col 4:2, “Continue steadfastly in prayer …” and to the believers in 2 Corinthians 1:11, “You must also help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” Paul says that believers must help other believers by prayer and that blessings will come to many because of those prayers.
I find it hard to pray. I force myself to pray. I have a habit of prayer. I have prayer books, pictures of people to pray for. I have written out prayers by someone else that I use to help me to pray. I have a prayer dairy that I faithfully use. But I get lazy in prayer. I get distracted in prayer. I can be praying and the most evil thing comes to my mind. God has given us this means of communication with Him called prayer; it’s not a shopping list that we always use with Him. Many times God simply wants to speak to us. Prayer is this fruit of abiding with Him.
Ben Fleming is the pastor of Silver Hills Community Church.