Jan 28, 2022 Devoted To Prayer: What We Do – Words of Grace – January 28, 2022
“I have so much to do today, I will spend the first three hours in prayer.” That quote is attributed to Martin Luther, the man who worked tirelessly as a pastor, teacher, theologian, and champion of the Protestant Reformation.
I must admit that often Luther’s approach to a busy schedule and his robust prayer life has left me feeling a bit feeble in both work and prayer. But I have found some instruction and encouragement in the principle behind his approach even if I fall short of his practice.
The point is this- before, during, and after our work, we are called to be devoted to prayer (Romans 12:12). Prayer is what we do even as we do other things. Prayer is what we do in every situation, for every need, about everything. Being devoted to prayer doesn’t mean we only pray; it means we always pray.
The New Testament book of James (ironically one that Luther, who emphasized faith, seemed to struggle with because it emphasizes the works that flow from faith), says so much about prayer.
A quick read of James (it’s a short book so it can be read quickly) shows us that prayer is for wisdom in times of testing, for dealing with the pull of the world and the pride in our hearts, for making plans, for times of suffering, for expressing gratitude for blessings, for healing when sick, and for confessing sin. James is a practical book about what we do, and prayer is at the top of the list. It seems Luther really did listen to what the Spirit has to say in James.
How about us? Will we put prayer at the top of our “to do” list and keep it there?
Think of a task you will do today. Now resolve to pray for God’s guidance and strength before you start it and at times while you are doing it. When you finish, offer up a prayer of thanksgiving.
I am doing that now. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t pray for three hours, but I did pray for a few minutes. I have a busy morning, so I am fixing my mind on the Lord and his grace. As I write these words, I am still praying. I soon will leave for an appointment. I plan to be in prayer. When the lights go out tonight, I hope to end this day prayer. I expect that all day today I will need God’s grace for all kinds of things. I am encouraged to know that my heavenly Father will be with me, giving fresh supplies of his grace for every need. So, I’ll pray.
Now, let’s together think about something we do as a congregation. We will gather on Sunday morning to worship the Lord and encourage each other in faith, hope, and love. Let’s pray before we get there. Then, when we arrive, let’s be in prayer for the Spirit to work and for the people we see. On the drive home and all next week, let’s pray for steadfast faith and lasting fruit from our time together.
We are at the end of January and our Devoted to Prayer month. We are not at the end of our praying. In everything we do, for as long as we do it, let us pray.