One author said that a sinning man will stop praying, and a praying man will stop sinning. We know that there must be a link between prayerlessness and entering into temptation because Jesus told His disciples to pray lest they fall into temptation. Unfortunately, they didn’t heed the warning, slacked off in prayer, and fell into temptation even to the point of denying Christ.
The devil loves to pick off Christians who stop praying and start coasting. He’ll even be happy to leave them alone and let them coast for a while so that they think everything’s still just as OK as when they used to pray. He knows the time will come when he can blindside them if they continue to disobey Jesus’ command to “watch and pray.” If you stop praying, the devil will start preying.
The Bible warns us that the last days will be perilous times, and not because of terrorist attacks or conflicts in the Middle East. The real peril is that Christians will fall into the ungodly attitudes held by the world and become lovers of money, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, and so on. These attitudes can creep in subtly enough that a prayerless person might not even notice it happening. I don’t know if there have ever been so many distractions to keep Christians from praying, yet prayer is as essential now as it ever was. If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy! Something less important needs to be cut back. Otherwise it’s easy to get swept up in the world’s way of thinking without even realizing it.
Prayer was never meant to be religious drudgery. Nor does God expect that all our prayer time should be “intercessory” prayer for others. The Bible tells us to intercede for each other, but there are other forms of prayer, too. For example, the prayer of thanksgiving is one that we probably don’t do enough, yet we’re told to make all our requests known to God with thanksgiving.
Praise and worship are other forms of prayer. If we want to stay full of the Spirit, we need to offer God praise from our lips regularly, not just on Sunday morning. If you’re not used to doing these things, try spending more time praising, worshipping and giving thanks this week and see if it doesn’t pick you up on the inside. That’s not the main reason for doing it, of course (pleasing God is!), but it’s a predictable side effect.
Yet another aspect to prayer that’s easy to miss is just “be still and know that He is God”. In other words, there should be a time when we just listen instead of talk. God wants prayer to be a 2-way street, not a monologue where you rattle off a long list of requests and then tune out until next time.
God has a plan for your life. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God has already planned good works for you to walk in. He has a plan for you, and it’s good, but you probably won’t discover it by trial and error. Instead, you discover it in your prayer time. The Holy Spirit will show you things in the future – that’s part of His job, according to Jesus. He will let you know God’s plan for you – but you have to make the time to listen.
If there is anything essential for revival, it’s prayer. Yet today many want to read a book and follow a man-made system to have a large church or a move of God. They assume that if they just do what so-and-so did, they’ll have the same results. What they miss is that probably what so-and-so did was pray and get God’s plan and then obey it. That’s been Dr. Cho’s formula in South Korea: “I pray and I obey.” Now you could try and copy the actual steps Dr. Cho’s did to build his church (and many have), but you could miss the real point, which is that his plan was birthed in prayer. You need to get your own prayer-birthed plan for your life.
And you can be quote sure of one thing – the plan God reveals to you by His Spirit will be far better than anything you would have figured out on your own!