I’ve often said how hard it is for me to pray. And I still struggle to pray as God desires. But I’m learning that I can only go so long without prayer before it becomes too hard for me not to pray.
For example, if I neglect to pray in the morning, I struggle to make it past the afternoon without spending some extended time in prayer. It’s almost like skipping breakfast. By 1 or 2 o’clock in the afternoon, my stomach begins to growl. In the same way, if I skip praying in the morning, my soul starts longing for prayer.
While my prayer life remains far from where it should be, I’m encouraged by this sense of dependency I’m discovering when it comes to my communion with the Lord. Reading the Bible comes much more easily to me. But 8 years ago, when I started reading God’s Word on my own, I struggled a whole lot more. I would skip a day or two until I couldn’t stand it any longer. It’s the beauty of Christian growth. Our ongoing sanctification.
We highly underestimate the power of prayer. For some reason, we often pray with a dutiful spirit rather than an expectant spirit. All the while, Jesus says, “‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’” (Mt. 7:7-11 ESV).
We should pray persistently and expectantly.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (ESV).
Do these verses imply that God will answer every prayer the way we desire? Of course not. But they do push us to recognize how our prayers can make a difference. And they also show us just how expectant we should be for God to move through prayers that glorify Him.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Expectancy is the very reason for prayer. Some prefer to pray because it is their duty and their custom, but real prayer usually springs from the expectancy that God will hear.”
Let this column encourage you to pray for a renewed sense of expectancy in your prayer life.
I don’t know about you, but I desire to pray more often. I desire to pray with more passion and purpose. So, I’m asking God to create in me an even deeper desire for prayer. I want to be able to say, “It’s too hard for me not to pray regularly.” Rather than saying how hard it is to pray, I want to grow ever dependent on Christ through prayer. And I hope you can say the same.
Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at www.isaiahpauley.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.