Imagine Sunday school at church.
You are chatting away with the person next to you, bagel in one hand, and coffee in the other. All of a sudden the room quiets down as you hear someone say, “Alright, time to begin. Would anyone like to pray for us?” A hush falls over the room, like a funeral parlor, and people glance nervously around wondering if they are going to be picked (Crickets…).
This may seem laughably innocent, but it’s not. We are walking a perilous tightrope we were never meant to walk. We should pray simply because Christ would want us to. Oftentimes I feel this unseen pressure put on my shoulders, but I fail to realize prayer is not just for me. It’s edifying purpose is for everyone: God, others, and us.
I’ll pray next time.
If we live with this kind of mentality and wait for the right moment, then we’ve already missed the point. Jesus is looking for people to drop their comfort zones and follow hard after him. He wants to move mightily through prayers whether you ‘feel’ in the mood or not.
Not a single one Bible verse mentions withholding prayer, but over 100 mention being led by the Spirit. God imparted the Holy Spirit to us so that we could always share. If we sit passively sit by waiting to be led, don’t be surprised if nothing happens. God is looking for people willing to live out the authority given to them by Jesus.
Christ never withheld prayer.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?’ And after looking around at them all he said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.” – Luke 6:9-11
God healed people on the Sabbath to show we are supposed to pray for people no matter what. The Pharisees kept the Law even if it meant denying someone prayer. Likewise, we divide the Kingdom of heaven when we withhold prayer.
So are we seeking God or waiting for something to happen?
Listening to God’s prompting and waiting for his guidance is awesome, but when do we finally move? Do we wait until we get an answer? What if an answer never comes? We have to be actively led by the Spirit, and walk by faithful obedience in what he has already told us to do:
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” – Galatians 5:16-18
Don’t worry if you feel weird praying. Our human nature doesn’t get the point of prayer, because it’s entirely spiritual. The devil is going to throw thoughts at you saying you don’t feel like praying, but remember that feeling isn’t from God. God always encourages prayer.
Let us be Christians who pray without ceasing for Christ’s sake.
Let us be Christians who are unashamed of our relationship with Christ.
Let us be Christians who are being actively led by the Spirit.
Today, pray for something you don’t feel like praying for. It may seem pointless, but even baby steps lead to running. We will never grow to our full potential if we always wait for the right moment. We have to seize the moment and be led by the Spirit because that is what Christ would do.
If you want to ‘feel led’, go buy some fishing sinkers and put them in your pockets. Next time you are wondering whether you should pray, stick your hands in your pockets and feel lead!