Article by Pastor Adam WallerElder at GraceLife London
“Do you pray?” I borrow this question from Ryle in his booklet A Call to Prayer as sadly this question awakens a certain amount of shame in many Christians. If I were to ask whether you pray before a meal, few would be bothered. If I were to ask whether you pray in the middle of trials, even fewer would blush. Even an atheist will find a word of prayer in desperate times.
As Christians, the answer to this question should be a resounding “Yes!” Yet it is rare to find a Christian fervent and devoted to daily going before the Lord in prayer for extended periods of time. It is a struggle to pray. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Prayer is very difficult, probably the most difficult thing in the Christian life.” Is this not true? Does praying not sometimes feel more like a duty than a delight?
The Bible is full of teachings on prayer but I will provide only two reasons from the Bible to live a life of prayer. First, prayer is the identity of a person devoted to God. The first distinction made between followers of the one true God and those who reject God is that a true follower of God “calls on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26). This does not change throughout Scripture (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13). Christians pray. They pray often.
A Christian who does not pray to God is as much a contradiction as a Christian who does not worship God. It is in the very definition of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Our Lord prayed while on this earth. Can we say that we are imitators of Christ and yet do not pray?
Second, prayer is one of the chief ways men bring glory to God. Have you considered that the greatest reason for praying is not what we get out of it but what God gets out of it? In Luke 11:5-8, Jesus told of a friend who although unwilling to meet the request of the man constantly knocking will give him what he asks to protect his own character. Our Lord linked the friend with our loving Father who will answer his children’s prayer because the credibility of His own name is at stake.
Moses also understood praying more for God’s glory than man’s benefit. Constantly, he interceded for Israel, not because they were such a great nation but because he did not want the glory of the Lord to be looked down on by the nations (Exodus 32:11-12; Numbers 14:13-19).
Our prayers put the character of God on display. When we pray, God has the opportunity to display Himself as a faithful friend, a loving father, and a powerful King. He can and does answer our prayer and this is a testimony to the world that our God lives and yes, He hears the entreaties of His people.
I ask again, “Do you pray?”