I’ll be the first to admit that my prayer life isn’t all it should be. In fact, my prayer life needs help!
Actually, I don’t feel bad about that admission, because I know I’m far from being alone. Probably most Christians desire to have a better prayer life than they have. I’ve read a lot of books on prayer, and they’ve helped. But what encourages me the most in becoming the pray-er I really want to be is the teaching of God’s word.
That’s what happened recently as I read the apostle Paul’s brief exhortation to prayer in Colossians 4.
Colossians 4:2 (NKJV) Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
The first thing that struck me as I meditated on this verse was the word “continue.” Paul doesn’t exhort believers to start praying, but to continue in the praying he’s sure they are already doing. Prayer is an integral part of the Christian life. Believers don’t need to be exhorted to pray because they do it from the very beginning of their new lives in Christ.
That’s certainly true in my life. I can’t imagine being a prayerless Christian.
On the other hand, I’ve also experienced how easy it is to get caught up in the busy-ness of daily activities, or perhaps in dealing with some urgent situation, and simply neglect to stop and call on God for His wisdom, guidance, and help.
It’s not that I ever think I don’t need God’s intervention in my circumstances. It’s just that I can get so wrapped up in trying to work through things myself that I momentarily forget to consult Him. But when that happens, I become, for that moment at least, a practical atheist. It would never occur to me to deny that God is real and is the Lord both of this universe and of my life. But when I get so focused on dealing with what’s happening in my life that I push Him to the periphery of my thoughts, I’m acting as if there really is no God to guide, direct, and provide.
So, Paul’s exhortation that we continue in prayer is very meaningful to me. However seemingly urgent may be the issues that are screaming for my attention at the moment, my first, and not last resort needs to be prayer.