The Importance of Prayer
It is the start of a new year! It is difficult to believe that the year is 2-0-2-0. Do you remember the Y2K scare? That was the year when everyone thought the world would collapse. Well, that was 20 years ago. Do you remember September 11, 2001? That dreadful day was nearly 20 years ago as well. Sometimes it is difficult to fathom how fast the time flies.
But here we are. It is 2020. The beginning of the year is usually a time of reflecting on areas where we need to improve. As a congregation, we want to focus on prayer in 2020. As we have mentioned the past few weeks, we will be making some changes to our Sunday evening service in an attempt to help us toward this goal.
Jesus is many things to us. Among others, Jesus is our example. The word example is related to the word sample. The word sample is defined as “a small part or quantity intended to show what the whole is like.” Over the course of about three years, Jesus showed how all of God’s people should relate to God. In addition to His teaching about prayer (Matthew 6:7-13; Luke 11:1-4), Jesus shows us how to pray through His habits of prayer. In fact, Jesus’ prayers and Jesus’ teachings about prayer are related to one another. It was Jesus’ own life of prayer which led the disciples to ask, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
Jesus prayed at His baptism (Luke 3:21), alone in the wilderness (Luke 5:16), early in the morning (Mark 1:35), all night before choosing the Twelve (Luke 6:12), at the transfiguration (Luke 9:29), for Peter (Luke 22:31-32), before feeding the 5000 (Matthew 14:19), at the institution of the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26), and for those who believe in Him (John 17).
Obviously, prayer played a critical part in the life and ministry of Jesus. Even to call it a “critical part” seems an understatement. Jesus is the Word of God who came to dwell with us. He is also described as the Son of God and the beloved Son. In John 10:30, Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” If anyone would be ok not to pray, we would think it would be Jesus. After all, Jesus is one with the Father. Yet, it is precisely because Jesus and the Father are one that Jesus does pray. Or perhaps, we could go even further and say that the Son and the Father are one because of the prayerful life of Jesus. Jesus prays without ceasing.
We must never underestimate the importance of prayer in our lives. We often become busy with many things. And some of these things are undeniably valuable. It is very important that we worship and study the Bible, but if we do this to the exclusion of spending time with God in prayer, then we have missed the point.
As we head into a new year, and a new decade, may our prayer be that we spend more time in prayer. If we truly love God, and want to be with God, then we will seek out every opportunity to commune and communicate with God in prayer. Let’s take advantage of those opportunities in the year ahead.