“Rhonnie Scheuerman’s Christmas Time Inspiration For All In Need This Morning”
Making Prayer Your Top Priority
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16
Prayer is foundational to your individual Christian life, and also to the life and ministry of your church. Like a foundation that secures a building, prayer gives you something trustworthy on which to rest. No wonder Satan works overtime to keep you busy and distracted so that you lose regular in-depth communication with your heavenly Father. But there’s one person against whom Satan couldn’t make headway when it came to trying to disrupt His prayer life: Jesus. And He’s the great example of what your prayer life should be. He began and ended His public ministry in prayer. In Mark chapter one, on one of the busiest days of His life, we see Jesus getting up before daylight to pray. Luke writes, ‘He…often withdrew…and prayed.’ It was His regular daily habit! In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed with an intensity none of us will ever know. No wonder the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. Just how important is prayer? Ask Peter. It was the prayers of Christ that kept him from being destroyed completely when he denied his Lord; they salvaged him, and eventually promoted him to leadership in the church. And the only reason you don’t fail more often is because Jesus is praying for you, too (John 17:20; Hebrews 7:25). The application is pretty obvious: if Jesus needed to pray—so do you. Furthermore, if you’re waiting until you feel like it, or for the Spirit to move you to pray, you’re missing something. The Holy Spirit has already moved you to pray—through the instruction and example Christ left you.
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer,
without anger or disputing. 1 Timothy 2:8
In training Timothy for the ministry Paul wanted him to understand how the church works. So he began with the important stuff like prayer. In essence, Paul was saying, ‘Before you do anything else, pray. Before you teach anything else, teach your people to pray.’ Why? Because if God’s not on your side, you won’t succeed! Most of us understand this intellectually. We say a quick prayer as we’re running out of the door. We say grace before a meal. We open our church services with prayer. But few of us grasp the real importance of prayer, and Paul didn’t want Timothy to be misled or misinformed about the place of prayer in the church. We dare not fool ourselves into thinking we can ‘make things happen’ without prayer. If a church isn’t a praying church, it doesn’t matter how well the pastor preaches or the choir sings, or how nice the building is. For it to succeed, Jesus said, ‘…My house shall be a house of prayer…’ (Luke 19:46). Oswald Chambers said, ‘We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves: the Bible’s idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.’ You aren’t coming to church just to hear a lively sermon or a good song; you’re coming to meet with God. The pastor and the choir are vehicles through which He can speak, but there’s no substitute for prayer. It’s not merely a nice sentiment; your spiritual growth and survival depend on it. So if you’ve gotten out of the habit of praying—right now get back into it!