Why Don’t We Pray More?

I hear a lot of people say “we don’t pray enough” or “we should pray more.”

This leads to the question, “Why don’t we pray enough or more than we do?”

Is it possible we become discouraged and disappointed with the results of our prayers? If we believed they were more effective, would we pray without ceasing?

Maybe we should change our perspective that prayer is not meant to bend reality to our will via God. If we saw prayer as the natural part of a relationship, would we pray differently? Would we pray more?

Encouragement Through Prayer

(Ephesians 6:21)  “But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:”

Tychicus, mentioned by Paul in his epistle to Timothy (2 Tim 4:12)  and Titus (Titus 3:12), is known as “beloved” and “faithful.” We see Tychicus as a co-laborer as early as Acts 20:4. He was the brother who many believe delivered the epistle to the Ephesians.

In addition to it being crucial for this letter to find its way to the recipients, it was also important they were able to “know my affairs.” I wondered why Paul wanted them to know his situation and how he was doing. Was he whining about his circumstances or looking to generate pity? No, it’s obvious from the context of this chapter there is a real part of ministry in the Ephesian church to be praying for the Apostle. He laid out the doctrine of spiritual warfare and then applied it by describing his own personal battles. By understanding these things, the Ephesians could keep him encouraged through prayer so Satan would not gain the upper hand through depression and oppression. They were working hand in hand with Paul to keep preaching the gospel in Rome!

How many beloved and faithful people in the Lord do you know who have been overrun by the attacks of the enemy? Maybe there are men you know who left the pastorate not because of sin or indifference but because they became so discouraged.  Maybe there are missionaries who came home from the field because they did not see the results they had hoped to see. Too often, I’m afraid Christians in the pew think overcoming severe discouragement in ministry is an issue of personal strength and fortitude rather than seeing it as part of spiritual warfare. Many people don’t know how to fight in this type of battle so they respond with inspirational sayings or admonitions to “toughen up.” Worse, they respond with indifference. After all, aren’t pastors and missionaries supposed to be “stronger” than the average Christian? Instead, what is really needed by those in ministry is the ear of someone trusted and the knowledge they have someone praying for them. In my personal experience, when I was at my lowest point in ministry, it was like water in a  desert to know someone prayed for me and would pray with me. One person who would do this gave enough strength to make up for a hundred who would not stand up with me or encourage me. Thank the Lord there were some people who surrounded me in my time of need. Faithfulness works on both sides – those who are ministering and those who have the opportunity to minister to those who minister.

If you are discouraged, depressed or feeling cast down in the work of the ministry, it’s important that you share what is on your heart with someone who will pray for you and with you. You should have some people around you who may know your affairs and stick with you through the discouragement. If this is you, and you aren’t surrounded by those who would stand with you, please reach to info@mychangedmind.com. It would be a privilege to be there for you today.

Renewed Thought – Your prayers can help someone who is discouraged in ministry to see beyond where they are right now.

 

A Surprising Prayer Request

prison photo(Ephesians 6:20)  “For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Notice that Paul’s prayer request was not for his personal freedom. Most of us would say he was unjustly imprisoned. But his goal was not to reverse the legal judgment. Paul fully realized he was in jail because of his stance on the Mystery of the gospel. Both Jew and Gentile were convicted before God as sinners in need of a Savior. This is why Paul was locked up. His prayer was for boldness to stand even stronger on this message.

Paul remembered his identity in Christ regardless of his circumstance. He still considered himself an “ambassador.” He lived as a heavenly diplomat locked up in the world’s chains. In this circumstance, he looked for courage – not to face danger and death. Rather, he looked for courage to keep preaching the message. Paul knew the spiritual battle he faced originated in his own mind and the souls of people were at stake depending on whether he won or lost.

Have you ever really listened to prayer requests – either your own or someone else? Most of the time they tend to be focused on something physical. I’m not saying this is wrong. All I’m pointing out is there is a great difference between what Paul prayed for and what most of us pray about. Even though the Lord supernaturally freed him from the Philippian jail in Acts 16, the Apostle didn’t go back to that experience and ask for a repeat. Instead, his mind and desires remained on the needs of those he was trying to reach. Paul considered preaching the gospel in these circumstances as his “reasonable service” (Rom 12:1).

Renewed Thought – The world may place us in chains but our true freedom rests in Christ alone. Lord give us strength to speak your gospel in our darkest hour.