Do You Pray?

By Pastor Mark Tanious

A year has come to a close and a new year is upon us once again. As we look ahead to what God has in store for us, it is a good time to evaluate our lives. Many of us are thinking about our health – are we eating properly and getting enough exercise. Others are considering their work situation – is this the year to make a change. While still others are thinking about their relationships – developing a friendship, growing your marriage, shepherding your children. Those things are great. But, we should also be considering how we are doing spiritually. Are you prioritizing the things in your life that will foster a richer friendship with God?

That’s why here at GBC we begin each year with a week of prayer. We want to be a praying church because we know that apart from God we can accomplish nothing (John 15:5). We want to pray because we recognize we are utterly dependent on God for everything. That’s why we have prayer meetings scheduled for every day this week. Please consider participating in at least one. Check out the schedule here.

We are also reading through the booklet, A Call to Prayer, by J. C. Ryle. We gave out many copies this past week. In fact, we ran out! If you picked up a copy, please read it. It’s a powerful little book. If you didn’t get a copy, you can download the free e-book here. I encourage everyone to pick up a copy and read it. It will stoke the flames for prayer in your heart.

Ryle begins this powerful little book this way:

I have a question to offer you. It is contained in three words: Do you pray?

The question is one that none but you can answer. Whether you attend public worship or not, your minister knows. Whether you have family prayers in your house or not, your relations know. But whether you pray in private or not, is a matter between yourself and God…I beseech you in all affection to attend to the subject I bring before you…Do not turn off my question by replying that you say your prayers. It is one thing to say your prayers and another to pray.

It’s a convicting but necessary question. Do you pray? To “say your prayers” is just another form of ritualism. There is no earnestness or heart in it. It’s just going through the motions. I want to know if you pour out your heart to God? Do you beg God to drive out the sin that has plagued you? Have you been filled with great awe that an all-holy and all-powerful God would set his affection on you? Has your heart been overwhelmed with gratitude as you recounted all the ways God has been kind to you?

As Ryle says, “A habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian” (pg. 5).

This prayer week is meant to stoke the flames of your heart for prayer. One of the benefits of praying together is that it encourages and strengthens us to keep pursuing Christ. God wants to pour out his power and grace to his children. But often he is just waiting for us to come humbly and ask. Jesus spent time teaching his disciples to show them that they should always pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1).

Do you pray?