“Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2).
Together with reading the Word of God and meditating on it, prayer is one of the big three means of grace in a Christian’s life. It is essential to a Christian’s spiritual health, and without it, a Christian will soon find he or she is missing out on the nearness of God.
But we all know that truly consistent prayer is hard work — very hard work sometimes. We may do well for a season but soon find ourselves allowing the things of the world to distract us. In times like these, the best thing to do is to remember why we pray. The Bible has many encouragements for us to continue in consistent prayer.
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
To be honest, we should pray because we have to in order to survive. Remember what prayer is: communication with the King of kings, our Father. If this communication stops for any reason, our spiritual health will wither like a plant without water. We will be spiritually slow and dull, and we will definitely become miserable. We need this communion with God. We were made for it, and we cannot live without it.
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:13-16).
Can you think of a time when God broke His promises to you? Has He ever not been enough? Has He ever been anything to you other than good, kind, and merciful? Not one of His children can point to a time when God did not provide, and we have no reason to believe that He will fail in the future. This should be a great encouragement to pray without ceasing.
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
Perhaps one of the best encouragements to pray is the fact that the Bible says God will hear and grant our prayers if they are in line with His will. If God leads you to pray for something, you can believe with all your heart that He intends to grant your request.
He is a good Father to His children, a good King to His subjects, and a good God to His people. Meditate on these verses, press them into your heart and mind, and run to the mercy seat of God over and over in full confidence that prayer is never in vain.