Immediately after the tragic terrorist attack in California, there was another attack—this time on Christians and the power of prayer. The New York Daily News blasted the offensive headline in capital letters, "GOD ISN'T FIXING THIS."
They attacked four Republican presidential candidates who offered prayers for the victims. Ted Cruz said, "Our prayers are with the victims... ," Rand Paul said, "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and brave first responders... ," Lindsey Graham tweeted, "Thoughts and prayers are with #San Bernardino," and Paul Ryan asked people to "Please keep the victims of #San Bernardino in your prayers." This attack on prayer quickly became a trend on Twitter and is now known as #PrayerShaming.
This is an attack from Secular Progressives who refuse to believe in God. If there is no God, then prayer is simply a waste of time. But if there is a God, then prayer is not only important, but it is vital. During this time when prayer is being attacked, I want to encourage you not to neglect the Christian's duty and privilege to pray.
Do you believe prayer is important? Do you live a life of prayer? The words "pray" and "prayer" are mentioned 329 times in the King James Version of the Bible, yet while many people believe in prayer, far too often we do not take the time to do it. Why is this? I think the reason many fail to pray is because most do not understand the importance, the significance, and the power of prayer.
Prayer is your lifeline to God. It is your connection to the most powerful force in the universe. Prayer is like an SOS from a sinking ship. Prayer saves, sanctifies and delivers. Prayer is a weapon for destroying the enemy, the devil. Prayer is the key to your relationship with God. Prayer is a way to make your petition known to your King.
E.M. Bounds writes, "[Prayer should not be regarded] as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty." I agree with Andrew Murray when he says, "Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian."
How much time should we spend in prayer? Sometimes we strive to be spiritual and pray a lot, but we disappoint ourselves when we are unable to fulfill our prayer goals. We tell ourselves, "I am going to get up every morning at 5:30 and pray for two hours every day." The next morning when the alarm rings, we turn over and sleep until it is time to go to work. In the midst of taking time for our family, school, work and recreation, it is often difficult to find the time to pray.
A great secret to a life spent in prayer can be found in the example of Smith Wigglesworth.
This famous preacher regularly saw amazing miracles occur in his services and many people were raised from the dead under his ministry. Someone once asked him how much time he prayed each day. This man wanted to know the secret to Wigglesworth's success and probably wanted to discover the magic number of hours Wigglesworth spent in prayer each day. Wigglesworth surprised the man by saying, "I never pray for more than 15 minutes at a time, but I never go more than 15 minutes without praying."
In other words, Wigglesworth had a continual relationship with God.
Someone once pointed out, "It is better to pray a little bit a lot than it is to pray a lot a little bit."
Is it better to take a girl out on one big date, or is it better to spend every waking moment with her? God wants us to be aware of Him all the time and to consult Him about the little details of our lives.
This does not mean you should forsake setting aside a specific time to pray. It may be helpful to make an appointment with God and to write it down in your day timer. But even if you spend a set amount of time praying each day, do not forget about God the rest of the time.
Since I heard the story about Smith Wigglesworth, I have tried to mentally remind myself of God's presence every 15 minutes. All of us have a lot of time that can be used for prayer. We can pray on the way to work or while waiting in line at the post office or while we take a shower in the morning. Our day is constantly filled with little opportunities to pray.
Instead of beating yourself up trying to set aside time to spend with God, allow Him to come and spend time with you while you do your everyday activities. I exhort you to "pray continually." This is what it means to make God the center of your life!
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