Why do we not pray as we ought in spite of exhortations like:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God which passes all understanding shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus"
Or: "Pray without ceasing" And: "Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation, for your adversary the devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour".
The truth of the matter is that prayer is hard work and is strongly opposed by the enemy of our souls.
Paul explains it this way: "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . ."
On another occasion Paul exhorts us, "Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
After detailing the various parts of the spiritual armor needed he concludes with this exhortation, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
The following is a quote from Corrie Ten Boom, the indomitable little Dutch lady who at the risk of her own life rescued hundreds of Jews during the Second World War from the holocaust, by hiding them in her own home:
"When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs.
When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy."
Let's face it, in spite of Jesus' flat out declaration "Without me you can do nothing", are not the prayer venues, the spiritual power centres of our churches, the most poorly attended?
Why is it that dozens of us will spend hours building sets and rehearsing lines for a drama to be presented in the church but when the call comes to spend an hour praying for a moving of the Holy Spirit in our midst a mere handful turn out?
It is because the enemy of our souls opposes our praying with a vengeance. "Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees" - author unknown.
Over and over again in the history of Israel, they turned their back on God and were overcome by their enemies.
But over and over again they repented of their sins, cried unto the Lord in their trouble and God delivered them. He is still in the deliverance business.
He pleads: "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know."
And He promises: "If my people who are called by My name shall humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land." (2 Chron. 7: 14)
Let's do it !
? Bert Warden, a retired C&MA pastor and freelance writer is a member of Sevenoaks Alliance Church in Abbotsford.