As 2014 comes to a close, you may be considering some new year’s resolutions, what you will try to do in 2015. Have you considered praying more in 2015?
Prayer is something the Bible encourages us to do. Many times Jesus showed his disciples the importance of prayer. Firstly Jesus showed the priority of prayer by his own prayer life. For example in Mark 1:35 we read ‘Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.’ This happened frequently. Jesus also told his disciples a parable ‘to show them that they should always pray and not give up.’ (Luke 18:1).
Moreover Jesus gave explicit instructions about prayer: ‘And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ (Matthew 6:5-13).
The apostle Paul also encouraged prayer. In one place he said: ‘Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Does that describe you? Are you someone who prays ‘continually’ giving thanks in ‘all circumstances’? If not, why not?
Do you not pray more because you don’t think prayer works? Study the Scriptures and see how the prayers of the faithful were answered again and again. Speak to other Christians about whether they have witnessed the power of prayer. Prayer does work.
Do you not pray more because you don’t think you can pray to God? If you are an unbeliever this is a right way to feel. You cannot simply waltz up to God in your sins and think he will respond to you. But if you trust in Christ your sins are washed away and you can approach God in prayer. Jesus says: ‘I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.’ (John 16:23).
Or do you not pray more because you don’t know what to pray for? Consider your life and the lives of those around you and you will soon see great needs for prayer. Start a list of such needs and pray through them in 2015 and see what happens.
Are you going to pray more in 2015?