R.C. Sproul says that,
“One of the surest marks of the Christian is his prayer life. One might pray and not be a Christian, but one could not possibly be a Christian and not pray. Romans 8:15 tells us that the spiritual adoption that has made us sons of God causes us to cry out in verbal expressions: “Abba! Father.” Prayer is to the Christian what breath is to life, yet no duty of the Christian is so neglected.” (Following Christ, emphasis mine)
Has prayer been neglected in your life? It’s important to realize that prayer encompasses more than kneeling at the side of your bed before you go to sleep. The facets of prayer are deep and we would do well to remember that when Jesus taught on the subject of prayer, he was encouraging both private communion with God, but also corporate communion with God. This means that prayer is both done in private and amongst other believers, and both can be intimate times of communion with God!
One of the most troubling things that I find within the confines of “churchianity” is that many congregations spend more time on the announcements than on prayer. Often I’ve heard pastors and leaders say that they encourage prayer to be done throughout the week, which is why they don’t spend as much time during the worship gathering praying. Praying during the week is wonderful and it isn’t that encouraging private prayer is wrong; it isn’t. The issue arises when our emphasis on prayer misses the importance of what Jesus taught within Matt. 6 and Luke 11 (commonly referred to as the “Lord’s Prayer.” As Stein notes, “the “you” is plural [in the “Lord’s Prayer”], indicating that both Matthew and Luke understood this to be a corporate prayer” (Stein, Luke [NAC], p. 324). In other words, because we see plural pronouns throughout Jesus’ teaching on prayer, it’s safe to say that Jesus understood prayer as a way of life for a community of believers. This makes sense of Acts 2:42, which states that the early disciples were “devoted to… prayers.”
All this is to say that I want the Lord to increase the quality of my prayer life, both privately and corporately, and I pray that others would long for the same.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.