On this first Sunday of the new year, it is good to remember that God has left His followers a wonderful resource to help us navigate through any difficulty, heartche or pain in our lives. That resource is prayer whether it’s prayer for peace or justice or health or finances or hope or a hundred other things that we will need in 2022. Most followers of Christ struggle with prayer. They see prayer as something important for their lives but at the same time they feel guilty about their faliure to commit so little or no time to prayer. They seem to be intimidated about the whole subject of prayer. A pastor once said, “I’ve never thought my prayers were eloquent enough or powerful enough. If prayer were a sport and we were picking teams, I would be the last guy picked.” Many of us probably feel the same way and that’s not what God wants for us. He doesn’t want our feelings about prayer to be a mix of guilt, regret and dissatisfaction. There are hundreds of references to prayer in the Bible and God does want us to pray. But He also wants us to know that if we pray, He will listen.
Scriptures – Psalm 46:1, 66:18; Proverbs 15:8; Isaiah 59:2; Matthew 6:7; Luke 18:1; Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Peter 3:12
Verse – Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2
Thought – The Apostle Paul was someone who understood prayer because it was a part of his life, and he took it for granted that it should be a part of the life of every follower of Jesus. He gives us three thoughts about prayer in Colossians 4 (see above). He begins by saying, “continue steadfastly in prayer.” He was trying to make the point that we should remain persistent and devoted to prayer. It is a powerful thought and Paul gives it as a command and not an option or mere request for the follower of Jesus. If we are persistent and devoted to something, it stands to reason that we are probably passionate about it. In Colossians 4:2, Paul says we should be vigilant or watchful about prayer which is the opposite of lackadaisical or negligent. It’s the idea of being passionate about prayer because we realize we are communicating with God Himself. We are to be persistent in prayer and passionate about prayer and finally Paul says that we are to be thankful in prayer. Paul tells us that giving thanks in our prayers should come naturally to us considering all that God has already done for us. He reminds us that as we pray our hearts should be filled with gratitude and thanksgiving to God.
Questions – 1. On a scale of 1 (none) to 10 (prayer warrior) where would you rank your prayer experience in 2021? 2. Why do you think Christians pray more passionately when facing some trial or need? 3. Who in your family modeled a “strong” prayer life? 4. Do you pray more for yourself or others? Why? 5. What is one thing you would tell someone who was struggling with prayer? 6. Do you think it is likely that a person can be a strong follower of Christ without prayer? Why?
Response – If you need a boost in your prayer “life” then consider praying the prayer below and humbly submitting to what God does next with your request.
Prayer – Dear Lord Jesus, I confess that I should be more devoted to prayer and have a greater passion for it. Please help me in my struggle with prayer. Lead me to find moments of time throughout my day where I can pray not only for me and my family but for the needs of my friends and fellow Christ followers. Thank you for the gift of prayer that allows me to communicate with You in the good times and bad times of my life. In your precious name I pray, Amen.