The purest ministry

Prayer life can easily get neglected, especially private prayer.

It’s a service God requires.

Jesus doesn’t just say: “Pray!”  He assumes we will pray. He said: “When you pray…”(Matt. 6:5)

Paul commands us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17)

We are to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6)

And Paul practiced what he preached: “…we have not ceased to pray for you…” (Col. 1:9)

In this as with everything, Jesus is our model:

“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears…” (Heb. 5:7)

And in the Garden of Gethsemane: “And being in agony He was praying fervently; and His sweat became like drops of  blood…” (Luke 22:44)

Prayer is hard work.

It’s often a struggle.  “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places…With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit. (Ephe. 6:12-18)

Consistency and perseverance count.

In my own daily life, to remain consistent in prayer is a daily struggle.

And, I think it likely you have found this to be true too.  And prayer is indeed hard work. So many distractions lure us away.

Yet one of Jesus key points on prayer was perseverance: “…yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs…” (Luke 11:8).  Often with prayer God requires that we ask, seek and knock, and keep on doing so.

A ministry available to all:

Who among us is denied prayer?  Even those in prison get to pray.  It’s a ministry you and I can have right now, in spite of any church position we may or may not hold or any worldly status.  Like several significant themes, primary to-dos, prayer is a thread that runs through the entire Bible.  It is somehow vital to God’s grand plan for us all and the coming of His kingdom in its fullest expression.

Prayer is pure ministry, an unspeakable privilege, and the way to power–the good kind of power.

I’m talking prayer alone before God (Matt. 6:6).

There we meet with God alone. Where there is no grandstanding, no trying to impress others, is there?  It is pure service to God, your fellow Christians, and humanity.

Think what a privilege it is.

To pray is to put yourself on God’s side, against evil and for the progress of His kingdom.  It’s a partnership really, though certainly an unequal one.  In prayer at its best we speak the will of God and make it our desire.

“I [God] searched for  a man among them who would…stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” (Ezek. 22:30)

It is the pathway to power.  (James 5:16B)

“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.” (Heb. 4:!6)  Grace is God’s power made available to us.

Years back John Wimber, pastor of the Vineyard in Anaheim, California, asked a believer who worshipped there, who often obtained healings for those he prayed for–why he was able to get those healings.  The believer answered, “I keep praying until it happens.” Persistence brings God’s power.

Let us not fail to pray.

Consistently, fervently, and humbly.  And see God come through.

Suggested further reading:

With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray

The Ministry of Intercession A Plea for More Prayer by Andrew Murray

Lord, Teach me to Pray in 28 Days by Kay Arthur

George Müller of Bristol and his witness to a prayer-hearing God by Arthur T. Pierson

Quiet Talks on Prayer by S.D.(Samuel Dickey) Gordon