Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2
E.M. Bounds, a 19th Century Christian who wrote some beautiful books on prayer, once noted, “Nothing is well done without prayer for the simple reason that it leaves God out of the account. It is so easy to be seduced by the good to the neglect of the best, until both the good and the best perish”. To acknowledge the value of something is one thing, to have it a regular practice in life is another, but to be devoted is on a new plain altogether.
Why is it that prayer so often slips to the background of priority in place of something good, yet not as valuable? Perhaps if we are bluntly honest with ourselves we doubt the efficacy of prayer, or more precisely, we doubt that devoting ourselves to prayer will result in any more breakthrough than working hard for it ourselves. Maybe, at times, we doubt that prayer is absolutely necessary to see God glorified in our community. Devotion to prayer might evoke a mental image of solitude, isolation and boredom to some. Past hurts might lead our faith to diminish, not in the presence of God or the gospel, but on His promise to give His Spirit to all who ask, seek and knock.
What an effective job Satan can do in lying and blinding us to the beauty of devotion to prayer! Can you hear that whisper lying to you that prayer isn’t powerful or worthy of your most valuable time? Surely not – Communion with the sovereign God in Heaven, who is also our loving Father is immeasurably powerful. His words to us guarantee this. We are disarmed when we are too busy to stop and pray. Do you hear that doubt that anything good will come out of prayer for our land? Be encouraged at who our God is – what could be more effective in seeing revival and awakening across Ireland than more and more of God’s children taking Him at His word and asking Him to pour out His Spirit? Does the thought of devotion to prayer seem bland, unexciting and boring? Our minds need to be renewed – communion with God is the fullest expression of life available. We were saved to be one with Christ. Nothing is more exciting than a group of people choosing to devote themselves to prayer together, knowing the joy of His salvation in greater measure, seeing Him move and provide in incredible ways, giving their lives to a greater purpose and knowing the satisfaction of true community, true power and true adventure.
Thank You, Father, for the honour and joy of being called to devote my life to prayer. I pray that You would move me, and Your Church in Ireland, to value communion with You more and more, that You would be glorified and that I would experience the fullness of a life soaked in prayer.