Today is the National Day of Prayer. It is an event that dates back to 1952 and was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. On this day, the focus is on the well being of all Americans, the leadership of America ( specifically the government) and key people of influence (teachers, parents, Sesame Street characters, etc.)
Since it is a day that is focused on prayer, I thought it would be appropriate to present my challenge to everyone…stop praying!
That might seem a bit radical but I can be radical sometimes. It might seem to be unconventional but again, I can be unconventional. It may even seem a little unbiblical, so here’s my explanation.
I know there are people who ask for Prayer Requests. I’ve done that myself. I read it all the time on social media websites. I’ll be scrolling down the page and then BAM-it sticks out like a sore thumb! “Please pray for so and so; he/she is in the ER. Send Prayers!!!!”
Prayer requests have become what we ask and send out into the social media spotlight when we need prayer. Such as a medical emergency, a financial crisis, an upcoming exam at school, or we discovered our favorite TV show is being cancelled.
That’s what prayer requests are for, right? We send them out on FB, e-mail and we even have prayer request cards in some churches. Since prayer is Biblical (we’ll see my Bible verses shortly) why would I ask us to stop praying?
First, I have no issue with prayer whatsoever. The challenge is to become people of prayer and not people who pray. There is a difference as well.
A few weeks back, a friend of mine was in the hospital, fighting for their life. Fighting for their own life is nothing new but as the fight continued, it became more evident that surgery was needed.
I saw the posts and the prayer requests. So, I did what any “good christian” would do: I stopped what I was currently doing (wasting my time on social media), said a prayer and moved on.
Well, not quite-not this time anyway. Something in my heart said I needed to do more. This battle has been going on for a rather long time and while I’ve known about it, I’ve offered up my prayers, here and there. I was, in a word, a person who prayed. Not a person of prayer.
I have continued to pray for this person on a daily basis since then. God answers prayer too. The surgery went through and was a success. The fight isn’t completely over but the worst of it is. Praise God for that!
- 1 Thess. 5:17 “Pray without ceasing”
This Scripture is an appropriate place to begin as well. We need to be people who are not simply entering our prayer chambers when there is a need (i.e. for us or a prayer request), we should ALWAYS be praying. We should live in the constant state of prayer.
Prayer is like oxygen. So the question is how long can you go without breathing?
- Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
There are times we need to read the Scriptures in reverse order to understand the concepts being taught or the doctrine of the passage. I believe this is one of them. We can be joyful in hope always (that’s easy) but being patient in the face of affliction is not easy. Yet, we know Jesus endured affliction and set “joy before him as he endured the cross.” How was Jesus able to accomplish such a task? Consider his actions’ leading up to the cross-he was praying!
Thus, if we remain faithful in prayer, we will have the patience (fruit of the Spirit) in affliction and our joy will be renewed as our hope is Christ in us.
- Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
It is rather easy to allow life to become an interruption at times. Scripture calls again and again for us to be devoted in prayer, letting God know the requests we have. This Scripture alone paints the picture of a “Prayer Request Hotline.”
“Let us never forget to pray. God lives. He is near. He is real. He is not only aware of us but cares for us. He is our Father. He is accessible to all who will seek Him.” – Gordon B. Hinckley
All Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway.