We commune with our Creator and grow closer to Him in dedicated prayer, where we learn about Him (Jer 9:23-24) and ourselves. Whatever we are as Christians, we are less than we could be or should be if we do not pray as we should. Jesus died to give us this privilege, the abundant life (John 10:10), and a Christian would not trade anything for this privilege. But when we pursue daily activities to the exclusion of prayer and Bible study, we are showing what we truly value. Martyn Lloyd-Jones taught that “When a man is speaking to God he is at his very acme. It is the highest activity of the human soul, and therefore it is at the same time the ultimate test of a man’s true spiritual condition.”
As Christians, we all know “prayer warriors” in the church, the body of Christ. Brothers and sisters, saints who we depend on when we need more help storming the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). Moses, Aaron, and Samuel were noted for their prayers (Psalm 99:6). Even Paul singled out Epaphras for his prayer ministry (Colossians 4:12, 1:7-9 & 1:3).
Just where, though, in the New Testament, is a gift of prayer listed or discussed among spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthians 12, 13, 14; I Peter 4:10-11)?
When one of the disciples said to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pr,”” (Luke 11:1), Jesus did not single out the prayer warriors, He addressed the group. And, importantly, He didn’t say “if you pray,” He said, “when you pray.” In Matthew 6, Jesus gave a clear injunction to pray; instructing His disciples with “when” not “if.” Luke 18:1 is a universal declaration for all the saints to pray. James, who knew Jesus longer than any Apostle, admonished us that “we have not because we ask not” (James 4:2), and furthermore that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man, availeth much” (James 5:16). Jesus Himself modeled the prayer life that we are to emulate (Mark 1:35 & 6:46, Luke 5:16 & 6:12). David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, prayed daily (Ps 86:1) and “awakened the dawn” (Psalm 57:8), as did Jesus (Mark 1:35), to begin their day with uninterrupted prayer and praise! Are not the early hours of the morning the first fruits of the time given to us each day, and isn’t it incongruous to pray “give us this day” in the evening? Have you ever sung “early in the morning” (from our hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy”) in the wee hours of the morning?
The apostle Paul’s teaching on prayer and his requests for prayer were in epistles addressed to churches and to “brethren,” not simply letters to “those who pray” (Romans 12:12, 15:30; II Corinthians 1:11; Colossians 4:2; II Thessalonians 5:17; 5:25).
If the church errs and teaches that there is a gift of prayer, then any saint not having a disciplined, daily prayer life can excuse his delinquency (I Samuel 12:23) by simply saying to himself that he doesn’t pray and need not pray, because he obviously does not have the gift of prayer.