I was leading a Bible study on the topic of prayer with some students today. We all admitted that sometimes we feel too busy to pray. We tend to think that we can accomplish more by “doing something” instead of praying. I see it all the time, even from college pastors. When we’re faced with something unexpected or perhaps have to much to do in one day, prayer is the first thing to go. It’s as if we don’t truly believe that prayer “accomplishes” anything. I remember when Matt Chandler spoke on prayer at Rez Week last year. He said when it comes to prayer we are often practical deists. Here are three reasons why we can’t allow prayer to be crowded out by our busyness.
Prayer Wins The Spiritual Battle
Every problem facing the Body of Christ or any individual is ultimately a spiritual problem. We can’t try to solve problems without prayer because the problems are not physical problems but spiritual ones, and prayer is one of the chief ways that we fight spiritual battles. In prayer we’re acknowledging that we are helpless to solve the problems we’re facing. In prayer we’re acknowledging that God alone is able to help us. Until we realize that every problem we face is a spiritual problem and that we are utterly helpless without God, we will try to solve our problems with busyness instead of prayer.
Prayer Is How God Works
You’ve heard it said…”Prayer works.” My friend Steve Hawthorne prefers to say it this way: “Prayer does not work. God is at work, and He uses prayer to accomplish His work.” Prayer is not a magic bullet. Prayer does not work, but it is God’s sovereign and mysterious way of letting us be a part of His wonderful work. I really believe that God does nothing except in answer to prayer. When He wants to do something great in someone’s life, He will first nudge a believer to pray for that person. It’s amazing that God allows us to participate in His purposes through prayer. Without prayer, nothing changes.
Prayer Changes Us
This is God’s secret purpose in prayer: to change us. Prayer is not just about asking God to fix our problems. It is His special means to change us. When we pray for the lost, our compassions grows. When we give thanks and give God our worries, we have peace. When we confess our sins, we grow in holiness. When we pray for those who persecute us, our heart toward them changes. This is what really happens when we pray. We are changed and we become an answer to our own prayers.