The Power of Prayer
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." - Romans 8:26
Like many in the FCA community, I subscribe to the practice of prayerfully selecting one word for the year. With so many good things competing for my time and attention, having a singular focus serve as my guide during the year helps me to grow and move forward in my walk with Christ. This year, my word is “prayer”.
A church planter friend of mine calls prayer the “leg day” of the Christian life. We all know how important it is to our sustenance and growth, and yet we often find ourselves skipping it in preference for some other activity. While we understand the importance of prayer intellectually, it may not feel like we are “doing anything”. Surely, we reason, it is better to be serving the poor, seeking justice, etc. rather than “just” praying. This type of logic misses the vitality of prayer in the Christian life. The New Testament alone mentions prayer 132 times (at least in the King James Version), so clearly God cares about it!
Perhaps a better athletic analogy than “leg day” for prayer is rest. I have often been guilty of sneaking in workouts during off days because I had a hard time accepting that doing “nothing” was better for me than doing something. I have slept less than I should rather than getting the 8 plus hours I need. Olympic athletes routinely sleep 10 hours a night. Why? Because these elite athletes understand that the real growth and development happens during the recovery phase, not during the workouts. Like physical rest, prayer is a time of renewal and strengthening. It is a time when I can truly be still and know that God is God (and that I am not). A time for giving my burdens, anxieties, and fears to God – trusting in him for his provisions. A time to trade the sins which so often entangle for his yoke which is easy.
With so much seeming uncertainty in the world now regarding COVID-19, prayer is deeply needed. We may find ourselves at loss for how to pray, but God knows our needs. God wants us to come to him like children. We do not need the right words, just a broken and contrite heart, acknowledging our needs and the needs of those around us. Are you ready to rest in Him?
- What keeps you from praying more? How might you add prayer into your day?
- Who can you pray for today?
- Who can you pray with today, even if remotely?
Psalm 46:10; 1 Peter 5:6-17; Matt 11:28; Romans 8:26