If you have been a Christian for any length of time you have no doubt learned the importance of prayer. Very few Christians would say that prayer is optional. Jesus himself certainly modeled a life of constant prayer. The Bible records in the New Testament numerous instances of Jesus spending whole nights in prayer. Other times Jesus woke up very early in the morning to pray. Clearly Jesus knew the importance of prayer. The question is do we?
What’s the big deal about prayer?
Jesus promises us in the Bible that God will give us what we ask in response to prayer. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24. Everything we receive from God is a gift. The Bible makes it clear that we have no goodness of ourselves. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” – Romans 3:23. “as it is written: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12.
Every one of us has to come to the place where we’ll admit that we can’t save ourselves. We have a huge problem. That problem is sin. We all have sinful human natures that are full of sin and pride. We think only of ourselves. We are naturally selfish. We cannot please God. “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” – Isaiah 64:6. No amount of good works on our part will bring us closer to God. It won’t win us heaven. It only ends up giving us a false sense of hope. A false sense of security. We tell ourselves that we are a good person because we go to church regularly and maybe even give money regularly to the church. We might even have a position of influence and importance in the church which can sometimes lead us to have an even higher opinion of ourselves. All of this is like a house build on a foundation of sand…
My name is Joe… And I’m a sinner…
We need to adapt the first step of the 12 step program. “We admitted we were powerless over sin–that our lives had become unmanageable.” We can’t gain victory over sin. We can’t become a good person. We can’t live a life that will please God. We are powerless to save ourselves. We need God. If we are going to live a righteous life that will please Him, He is going to have to do something supernatural in us.
Philippians 2:13 teaches us an important truth, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” God has to do the work. God has to transform our tastes. God has to give us the desire to be holy. God is the one who gives us the desire to pray and the desire to read the Bible. He is the one who works in us to make us realize our need. There is really only one thing we can consistently do. We can surrender.
Are you ready to surrender?
Human beings hate to rely on anyone else. We don’t like to think that we can’t do something ourselves. The idea that we can’t please God in our natural self is hard for us to admit. It is even harder to let go. We are in denial. Not willing to come to the end of ourselves.
So how do we find the way out of the mess we’re in? Simple. Pray. Ask God for the desire. Ask God to help us admit our problem. Ask God to give us a heart of repentance. It is all a gift. It only comes through prayer… “…You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” – James 4:2-3
Ask God. He knows you well. He is waiting for you to ask Him for help. Ready to trust Him?