When you get bad news, what is your first response? Worry? Anger? Crying? Some other outburst of emotion? How did you respond on Friday at the news of the Supreme Court about marriage? Did you pray as soon as you heard it or were you pressed to panic?
Often our first impulse is not toward God. Rather, we respond as if God isn’t interested in our problems at all. Scripture says, “Let not your hearts be troubled,” (John 14:1, KJV) yet trouble is often the first thing we borrow.
Some people live more in denial than reality. It’s as if they think, “If I ignore my problem, maybe it’ll go away.” But, that doesn’t work and deep down most of us know it.
God Wants to Hear Our Concerns
As followers of Christ, we should remember God invites us to bring our concerns to Him. He doesn’t want us to worry. He doesn’t want us to pretend our problems don’t exist. And He doesn’t want us to carry burdens alone. This is where prayer comes in. In fact, a living illustration of this is what I wrote in my two-part article from Monday and Tuesday. Please take the time to read it.
When trouble comes, we often rush right into the “God! Help me!” prayers. “I’m in over my head, save me!” Does God want to hear those prayers? Without a doubt! But He also wants us to come to him regularly, with humble requests. Philippians 4:6 (HCSB) instructs us, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
Prayer is The Key in Our Walk With God
We’ll constantly struggle in our walk with God if we fail in a regular prayer life. I noted this very thing in Bible Studies for Life, “In a similar way, we can deceive ourselves into thinking our spiritual lives are fine–even when we have no intimate walk with Jesus, no fellowship with others, and no sense of being on mission to make disciples.”1
Various Psalms call our attention to the reality of prayer as an ongoing part of our spiritual lives:
- “At daybreak, Lord, You hear my voice; at daybreak I plead my case to You and watch expectantly.” (5:3)
- “Lord, hear a just cause; pay attention to my cry; listen to my prayer–from lips free of deceit.” (17:1)
- “Yet when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting, and my prayer was genuine.” (35:13)
- “The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night–a prayer to the God of my life.” (42:8)2
Prayer is our ongoing spiritual breath, and is as necessary to spiritual vitality as physical breath is to living. We cannot hope to experience spiritual renewal apart from an emphasis on prayer.
Right now across the Southern Baptist Convention (and I realize many of you are not part of our convention), I am calling churches to give an entire Sunday morning worship service to prayer. Please see how you can lead this in your church or encourage your pastor to do so by watching how we Ied 7,000 people at the recent Southern Baptist Convention in a two and one-half hour prayer meeting. At ronniefloyd.com/sbc2015 you can see not only the video, but the exact order of service we used. Please call your church to prayer.
Live a Life of Prayer
So, rather than waiting for calamity to turn to God in prayer, let us live prayer filled lives. Let us wake in the morning in conversation with God. Let us talk to Him throughout the day. Let us praise Him throughout our waking hours, and entrust our lives to Him as we drift off to sleep. Any time and all the time, let us turn to God in prayer and He will send us the renewal we need for our lives.
Now is the Time to Lead,
Ronnie W. Floyd
1– Bible Studies for Life, Awake, Ronnie Floyd
2– All verses HCSB