Have You Prayed Today?

Have You Prayed Today?
Mark Bates

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. (Psalms 1:1-3)

Have you prayed today? Have you communed with the Lord? Have you received the provisions He has prepared for you? If you have not, I encourage you to pause right now, open your Bible, Bible app, or go to your favorite Scripture-hosting website, select a Psalm, and pray through it. This time with the Lord is more important than anything I will say in the following paragraphs. Once you have had that time with the Lord, then you can continue reading.

The great Reformer, Martin Luther, writing to his barber, said this when asked about prayer: “It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas that tell you. ‘Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.’ Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs, which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day.” (A Simple Way to Pray p. 36)

Martin Luther goes on to acknowledge that there are emergencies that do arise that demand our attention in the moment. However, what about the other times we have brushed off prayer for lesser things? The accumulation of “brush offs” are like passing several gas stations when you are “E” in hopes of getting to your destination. It is better to stop and fill up, rather than spend more time calling roadside service for help. The old maxim for discipline was this: “You either pay on the front end or you pay on the back end.” Translation: Either discipline yourself now or life will discipline you.

Believers will be forced to pray one way or another. Why? We all will be brought to our knees (at some point) to acknowledge our utter dependency on the Lord. This is a part of what it means to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; Col 3:10). My question is this, why wait until something tragic happens or even when something good happens to meet the Lord in prayer? Commune with him daily. Draw from the table of sustenance he has prepared for you in God’s word, each day. Use those same words as you petition and praise the Lord.

Prayer according to Martin Luther was not simply spontaneous utterances about our present situations. His prayers were based on and rooted in God’s Word. He used the Psalms as his textbook and training ground for developing prayer muscle. This prayer muscle was then applied to his present circumstances. He believed that prayer was the chief spiritual discipline that breathes life into all the other spiritual disciplines. Lest we have forgotten, Luther was a Christian educator. He was a remarkably busy man translating the Bible into the German language, writing catechisms and books on prayer. But Luther’s approach was this: the bigger the task, the more he needed to pray.

Helmut Thieliche says this of Luther’s reported four hours of daily prayer, “[he] prayed this much, not despite his busy life, but because only so could he accomplish his gigantic labors … To work without praying and without listening means only to grow and spread oneself upward, without striking roots and without creating an equivalent in the earth. A person who works this way is living unnaturally.” (A Simple Way to Pray p. 15)

At Oroville Christian School, we are committed to praying for our students and their families. From teachers and who pray daily with and for their students, to board members who pray regularly for staff and students, to church members who meet semi-monthly to pray for the school, OCS is bathed in prayer…that God would work in our lives to accomplish his ends.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7) 
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