Diligence in Prayer
by Randy Sperling
Many people have exercised strong prayer lives. They may have been a homebound mother, a business man, or the famed apostle Paul who stated in 1 Thessalonians 1:2, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers.” These individuals provide examples of “diligence in prayer,” meaning “a careful and continued work; a conscientious effort.”
What words best describe our prayer lives? Silent, verbal, timid, comfortable, alone, public, occasional, frequent, brief, lengthy, lofty, heart-felt, verbose, simple?
Pray Without Ceasing.
Prayer may be defined as the act of addressing God. It is a grand privilege to be welcomed into the very presence of God. In Hebrews 4:16 we read, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Paul states in I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” We are to frequently communicate with our heavenly Father. Communication with a stranger can be more challenging than with a close friend. As we communicate frequently with a new person we learn to know them and thus speech becomes more comfortable. Likewise, as we take in God’s Word we know Him better and prayer becomes normal in everyday life.
“Pray without ceasing” may prompt the question: “How many minutes should a godly person pray?” We do not want to set a legalistic number. We also do not want to take license by being satisfied with a mere “Good morning Father” as we adjust the rear-view mirror on the way to work each morning. Prayer must come from our heart as we divulge what is on our mind. None of this content surprises God as He knows our heart.
Be Devoted to Prayer
The growing believer has a strong private prayer life. Paul instructs us in Colossians 4:2 to “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” “Devote” carries the idea of setting apart for special use; to persist. Serious prayer takes effort. It is work. We are to mimic the woman of Luke 18:5 who persisted in her fervent requests of the judge. Then Luke 18:7 can become our result. “Now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?”
Our devotion to prayer shows what is of great value to us. We must plan our days for prayer since it is our window to God’s power being applied to daily circumstances. This plan may include documentation of prayer item details. Share appropriate items and results, asking others to pray as well.
As we avail ourselves to prayer we become keenly aware of what God is accomplishing. This requires alertness, a watchful frame of mind, as we set ourselves apart to pray. Prayer is both a privilege and a responsibility.
Pray at All Times in the Spirit
Believers are to live a life of prayer. In Ephesians 6:18, Paul calls us to action as we equip ourselves with the full armor of God. “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
We are called to pray in all circumstances, including times we petition God. Our petition of God pictures an earnest request of our Superior. We come to God with many desires, to the One Who knows what we need. We also are called to pray in line with the Holy Spirit, who has all power to accomplish what God wills for us.
Our diligent prayer life will contain elements of thanksgiving, petition, and serious requests of issues close to our heart. The Holy Spirit makes our prayer effectual. Prayer is a major priority of the believer’s life as we learn that God is bringing about His results as we earnestly come before Him.
May we initiate diligence in our prayer life today, looking for a greater closeness to Christ as we grow ever stronger in Him.