Over the past few months I have been trying to have some concentrated attention on the importance of prayer. In May I wrote about prayer in terms of a two way street. Prayer is conversation. When we are praying we speak to God and we need to cultivate an attitude in which we allow ourselves to listen to God. June focussed on the fact we need to be praying with our eyes open. Look around and see the world in which we live. Your Kingdom Come we pray but where precisely do we see this need. In our world, our nation, our town, our congregation, our family all need God’s kingdom to intervene. Take time to look before you pray. July was a further invitation to be active in prayer as I encouraged you to make your petitions be known.
But when should I pray? It’s a real question worth considering. Some pray in the morning, some pray at night and some at other times. I think it’s great to set time aside to pray. There is nothing wrong with having patterns and order in our day. But if we simply tick it off our to-do list for the day, or if prayer becomes a badge of our own self-righteousness then without a doubt we have missed the point of prayer.
The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:18 “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” In Keys to Spiritual Growth John MacArthur having early likened prayer to breathing (an essential part of life) comments, “when do you breathe? Would you say, oh I take gasps of air in the morning, or I get my air at night. How ridiculous! We must be praying always and always praying. The Greek construction speaks of praying on every occasion.” In Luke’s gospel we read Jesus encouraging his disciples (that’s us) to pray continually and persevere in prayer (Luke 18:1).
Paul often wrote to commend and instil an attitude of prayer in the hearts and minds of those he wrote to. Just a few examples for you to look up and ponder, Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Each of these gives us some insight into Paul’s attitude towards prayer.
So, I encourage you to develop patterns of prayer that invade every moment of everyday. Praying all sorts of prayers as you acknowledge God, give thanks and adoration to Him, make your requests and petitions known to Him.