It’s time for someone to tell it like it is about some things. Calling the prayerless church to prayer is one of those things.
I lead one of my church’s two prayer meetings. We meet on Sunday mornings before service. The church has thousands of members.
On a great day, ten of them might show up to pray.
I’m grateful for all ten. They’re faithful, and I love them. But still: what’s wrong with this picture?
What’s wrong with this picture is that Christians across Christendom believe that church is all about them. They use it like a drug: Enter at 10:15, exit at 12:00 noon, and hope I get my fix. That’ll tide me over until next week. Because after all, it’s all about me, right?
I’m just thinking out loud here, but I have this crazy idea that maybe the Christian life is not about you. Maybe it’s all about Jesus instead.
It’s just a shot in the dark. However, I have this wild idea that maybe we exist, not for ourselves, but for God and His presence. Maybe our goal in life should be to see that Jesus gets His full inheritance in and through us.
Yet that idea seems to be far from the minds of most believers.
We live prayerless lives. We value prayer, but we want others to do our praying for us. We want others to get our breakthrough for us. “Nothing hard, nothing difficult, no effort required, please. Just give me what I want and I’ll be out of your way,” we say.
Nevermind that Jesus, who DID pay the price to obtain our breakthrough for us, did so by spending entire nights in prayer. Not just once, either, but often. Nevermind that He prayed constantly, listened to the Father constantly, and continually cried out to God for help to be kept from sinning (which would have resulted in His eternal death).
Living a victorious, sinless life cost Jesus something.
But we want our victorious life at no cost.
So we let others do our praying for us. We show up at Sunday morning church service to get what we can out of it. But if we get nothing, we’re ok with that too. We aren’t willing to pay the price, you see. We much prefer our late sleep, our soft beds, our bacon-and-egg breakfasts to fasting and prayer.
Yet Jesus stands and asks, “Can you watch and pray with me one hour?”
And we answer, “No.”
So we go on living the way we have always lived. We go on sinning the way we have always sinned. We do what pleases us and couldn’t care less about what pleases the Father. We take what we can take from everything, and then we move on.
It’s all about our comfort. All about our rest. All about whatever feels good in our own opinion. Heaven forbid we should be inconvenienced. Heaven forbid we should die to ourselves and live to Jesus. Heaven forbid we should have to be faithful, or loyal, or obey the Lord, or serve when it costs us something.
The Christ-followers in the early church conditioned themselves to wake up multiple times during the night and pray.
History is full of examples of men and women who wore their knees out praying. Some even wore spots on the floor where they prayed.
How are your knees doing?
How is your floor looking?
How is that section of the church floor looking that’s supposed to be marked with your tears, your intercession, your prayer?
This is the one time you don’t want your floor looking spic-n-span.
And if it is, it’s never too late to change that.
Get a prayer life. Sacrifice. Give up your own comfort to follow the commands and example of Jesus.
Pray. Pray. Pray.
Get to your church’s prayer meeting this week, and keep going back. Every week. Week in and week out. Be faithful, even though faithfulness is going to cost you something.
Because it’s not about you. It’s about God, and God moves when men pray.