“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6v18
How often do you pray? And for how long? If you’re being honest it probably doesn’t come anywhere near the ‘all times and on every occasion’ Paul urges us to in this verse. But yet from the context of the previous verses it is clear that Paul is putting as much importance on prayer as the armour of God in helping us in the spiritual warfare, the battle against ‘evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.’ (v12). As the song ‘We want to see Jesus lifted high goes’, every prayer is a powerful weapon. Yet how often do we access that resource in day to day life? And more importantly, when we do utilize the power of prayer, how often is our prayer self-centred? It’s all too easy to fall into a prayer pattern of thanking God for what he has given us, bringing our problems to Him and asking for his help, and then saying Amen. But what about the hundreds of lost souls around us? The millions in this generation that are heading on a downward spiral to wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth? How often do we utilize the power of prayer on their behalf?
Casting Crowns have an awesome song about the need for the church to “step up to the plate” and pray ‘at all times and on every occasion’ and for our prayer to be more than just praise and self-centred requests. The song is called What if His people prayed and if you don’t have it you can watch a video of it here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=UXoPuIN8jes
The song has some awesome challenges in it, and I’m going to take the time to list some of them here, along with a few practical suggestions of how to respond to the call to pray ‘at all times and on every occasion’
“And what would happen if we prayed
For those raised up to lead the way”
Especially relevant with the upcoming USA election. We can be so quick to criticize those in authority when things go wrong. But how often do we pray that they would have wisdom and that God would influence their decisions? In future, instead of being so quick to pass judgment, take the time to pray for them, pray that in future their decisions would be better. In with the election, it would be a good idea to pray that the right candidate would win, rather than just debate with friends over who you want to win.
“maybe kids in school could pray”
Over the course of a week how many people use the same desk as you? How many people do you share a class with? School/Uni is such an opportunity to reach out to people, so why not flood your School/uni life with prayer? As you walk in the gate pray that God would shine through you. As you enter a room pray for the teacher, pray for the class or lecture, and pray for the others in your class, that they would be focused on learning. At lunch pray for those eating around you that God would give them a hunger to know more about Him.
“And unborn children see light of day”
When you see a pregnant woman pray for her health and the health of her unborn child. When you see a young baby, pray that it would grow up to become a Christian, that God would be at work in their life.
And when you hear an ambulance siren, pray for the person it is heading to, that God would heal them, and pray for the medics inside the ambulance, that He would work through them.
You’ll probably not be able to find out if your individual prayers have had any effect, but with enough people in this generation praying unselfishly the impact upon the world will be so unmistakeably clear.