How often do you pray? There is no right or wrong answer – it’s like asking how often you call your friend. The more often you call that person, the stronger and more fulfilling you relationship with him/her will be, it’s that simple. As Christians, we are not mandated to pray a certain number of times a day, there are no rules; but we have been given a lot of helpful advice, much of which is from Jesus himself. Check it out:
Matthew 6:5-7 (New International Version) [this is Jesus speaking]
“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 lke pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”
I think in modern-day terms, the hypocrites he refers to could easily parallel to the infomercial ministers you see on TV sometimes, showing off their long fluent prayers in order to sell you a healing hankerchief…but the most applicable part to this passage is the middle section. It describes the intimacy with which we are to talk to God. Not to say that you have to get alone in a quiet place every time you say a prayer, but when you are praying, wherever you may be, pray as if it is just you and God having a conversation, with no one else around.
If you’ve ever thought that maybe you do enough “Christian-y” things – between church and youth group and Bible studies and listening to the WOW 2002 CDs – that you don’t really need to pray as much as some people, keep in mind this. Jesus Christ prayed constantly. Jesus, as in, the Jesus that WE pray to, prayed fervently and frequently. This is because He understood the context of prayer, which is speaking to the Father. If you had your dad with you literally all the time, surely you would speak to him often. Prayer is the same way, and Jesus was a great example of how to go about it.
Many of you have probably heard the phrase “Pray without ceasing”. This comes from 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, the context of which is:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New American Standard Version)
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
The concept of praying without ceasing may sound overwhelming, but it should not be viewed as a literal command, but more like an idea to work towards, an encouragement towards a goal. It is more like “Pray as often as possible, period”, which is still a lot more than you probably pray right now (don’t worry, it is for me too). The point is, there is no such thing as praying too much; no matter how much you pray, you can still pray more. Like I said earlier, prayer is our door of communication to God in heaven. The more we use this door, the better we will know God’s heart and understand His ways.
I encourage you to pray more.
I challenge you to pray a lot more.
If it is your desire to be more like Christ and to grow closer to God, this is the simplest way. Bottom line.
And if you can’t think of anything to pray for, pray about that.
Have a great week. No three songs this week, there is plenty to chew on here.