Prayer is the last thing a Christian learns. We would rather sit down and read the Bible or some spiritual book. Or we would rather help out in some church program or other. Or we would not mind even visiting those who are sick and suffering. But the last thing we do is pray!
Prayer is the first thing a Christian should learn. How to spend time in prayer. How to shut oneself in one’s room and cry out to God – not only for oneself and one’s family, but also for others. Praying for oneself is supplication, praying for others is intercession. But we can neither pray for ourselves nor for others. We get down on our knees and within a minute or so our mind wanders, and soon we are lost in wandering thoughts, and sometimes we even fall asleep.
We need to get into the discipline of prayer. First, to maintain a prayer book and list out all the items for prayer. Second, get a prayer partner and start praying with him or her. But thirdly, and most important, we need to get a burden for prayer. The Holy Spirit has to put the burden into our heart – so that we are ‘praying without ceasing’, so that we are in the habit of continually praying to God about everything.
One of the best things about prayer is that God gives us the strength to do what we ought to do. Often we postpone things; we procrastinate. We ought to list out the things we have to do and start praying about them. Then God gives His grace to us to get those things done. The other important thing is that we do not know what to do. Earlier we had our own ideas and plans; we lived in the realm of the soul, just like any person in this world. But now we are in the realm of the Spirit – and the Spirit has to direct our paths. It is wonderful to see how God begins to guide us regarding what we should do. He puts the burden into our heart and He gives us grace and He shows us the way in which we should go.
If we do not spend at least an hour in prayer every day, we are actually wasting our time. We are told to ‘redeem the time, for the days are evil’. The best way to redeem the time is to start praying. May God help us to maintain a prayer book, give us a prayer partner, and also guide our steps as we abide in God’s presence in continual prayer.
We ought to give the top-most priority to our prayer life. Once our prayer life is set right, then all our problems get resolved. Our unfinished works become finished works, and we begin to thank God for giving us grace to get so many things done – which, otherwise, we would have never done, because we had neglected our prayer life.