“The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.” — 1 Peter 4:7-9
I have read that early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well-worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, “Brother, the grass grows on your path.”
For many today, the grass grows over their path. Prayer is a politely acknowledged virtue, but a commonly ignored discipline. For so long, Christians have relied on their own strength, ingenuity and intellect. Prayer has been pushed into the back room.
Recently, something new is happening. People are being awakened to the necessity of prayer. There has come a “holy pressure” on the hearts of many, compelling them to cry out to God. There is a growing tide of prayer sweeping through the lives of His people.
Last week I began to ask the question, “What does this growing movement of prayer have to do with the day in which I am living?” Then, this morning, I read this passage in 1 Peter. I am beginning to understand what God is doing in this day.
I believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to a more earnest and disciplined prayer life. Why? Because these are the last days! The last skirmishes in the battle for the souls of men is coming quickly to an end. Spiritual warfare in our world is intensifying. Drastic times call for drastic measures.
How should we pray in these days? There are some guiding principles to prayer that I believe that we must follow if we are going to make an impact and a difference in the time that we have left. First and foremost, we must pray in the Holy Spirit. This means we must be guided, compelled and moved by the Holy Spirit in all of our praying.
Secondly, we must pray in faith. The words we speak to God can often betray us and reveal our unbelief. There is no room for doubt in the conflict that we face. Praying with the “If’s,” for a Christian is like trying to breathe without lungs. It just doesn’t work! We must be convinced before we pray, while we pray and after we pray!
Additionally, we must pray in specifics. Generality leads to mediocrity. Lost people need to be prayed for by name. Needs must be plainly shared with the Father, not because He does not know, but because we need to express our dependence on Him. How can we know God is answering when we don’t even know what we are asking for?
Prayer takes time. Take the time to pray. It will be the best investment to your life and ministry. Don’t let the grass grow on your path!