HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
I start with three brief answers to why we should be devoted to prayer.
1. The Bible tells us to pray and we should do what God says.
This text, along with many others says, “Be devoted to prayer.” If we are not, we are disobedient to the Scriptures. That is foolish and dangerous. If prayer doesn’t come easy for you, consider yourself normally fallen and sinful with the rest of us. Then fight. Preach to yourself. Don’t let your sins and weaknesses and worldly inclinations rule you. God says, “Be devoted to prayer.” Fight for this.
2. The needs in life, family, churches, world missions, and culture are huge and desperate.
In many cases, heaven and hell hang in the balance, faith or unbelief, life and death. Remember Paul’s grief and anguish for his perishing kinsmen in Romans 9:2, and remember that in Romans 10:1 he prays for them earnestly, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” Salvation hangs in the balance when we pray. You will not know what prayer is for until you know that life is war. One of the great obstacles to praying is that life is just too routinely smooth for many of us. The battlefront is way out there, but here in my tiny bubble of peace and contentment all is well. Oh, may God open our eyes to see and feel the needs around us and the great potential of prayer?
3. God acts when we pray — and he can do more in five seconds than we can in five years.
Oh, how I have learned this over the years. What an amazing thing to bow my head repeatedly and plead with God during sermon preparation, or during some counselling crisis, or some witnessing conversation, or some planning meeting, and to have breakthrough after breakthrough which did not come until I prayed.
What an important lesson to feel fretful and eager to get to work immediately because I have so much to do I don’t know how I can get it all done, but to force myself to be biblical and reasonable and take time to get on my knees to pray before I work, and while on my knees, to have ideas tumble to my mind for how to handle a problem, or shape a message, or deal with a crisis, or solve a theological problem — and so to save myself hours and hours of work and the frustration of beating my head against the wall trying to figure out what came in five seconds of illumination! I don’t mean that God spares us hard work. I mean prayer can make your work 5,000 times more fruitful than you can make it alone.
There are more, but these are three answers to why pray:
(1) God commands us to pray;
(2) the needs are great, and eternal things are at stake;
(3) God acts when we pray and often does more in seconds than we could do in hours or weeks or sometimes years.
There are many other questions to be answered about prayer I can’t deal with here. That’s why there is the Bible and many other commentaries from great renowned men of God.