During some of my most recent struggles, I have more than anything been learning more and more to rely on prayer. It has been the breath I breathe at times and the source of my reliance upon God. With financial struggles, job searches, and desiring God I have found prayer to be the most essential activity in my faith.
Prayer is needed for the compete reliance upon God. Without prayer, we simply cannot walk by faith.
With human nature we tend to like to rely on ourselves to get things done. We love to be able to say that we did it on our own for the sake of “bragging rights.” But we must not forget that we should not boast in ourselves and our own works (Ephesians 2:5) but in God’s finished works alone (Jeremiah 9:23-24). The more dependent we are on ourselves the farther we are from God and His Glory. In Adam we are dead but in Christ we are alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
In Adam we enjoy life on earth as much as possible before death. In Christ we lose life on earth as much as possible before life. In Adam we fulfill the desires of the flesh unto slavery. In Christ we fulfill the desires of the Holy Spirit unto sonship. In Adam we are slaves to sin. In Christ we are slaves to righteousness. In Adam we are destined to die. In Christ we are destined to live. In Adam we are lost. In Christ we are found.
I have found more than ever as a current work in progress that prayer is the dependency on Christ in my walk with Him on the narrow road. I have needed Him this far, still need Him, and will need Him for the rest of my life.
In his book “Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God” Tim Keller said, “Faith ultimately is not a virtue; it’s a gift.”
I have found this to be such a reality in my walk with Christ. Faith is never accomplished by our own efforts but by God’s gracious gift by His effort on the Cross.
In culture we tend to define “faith” as “believing in God” when faith really have nothing to do with this. The Bible says that even the demons “believe in God” and yet they shudder because of the threat of eternal torment ahead. The Greek word for faith is “pistis.” The definition of pistis is “divine persuasion.” This identifies faith then, more as an act of God than an act of man. Think more of the term, “having faith in someone.” To have faith in someone who you trust to protect you is a lot different of a relationship with them than “believing they exist.” You may believe that someone exists and despise them. Yet, to trust in someone else’s accomplishment for the sake of your life or death takes something huge. It takes dependency.
Dependency cannot be maintained in a world of fast paced distractions. We have all kinds of distractions before us such as lust, money, power, pleasure, pride, and other kinds of counterfeit gods. In order for us to be so reliant on God that these things don’t look so desirable, it takes dependency upon God through prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray unceasingly. I don’t know about you, but I find this hard to do at times. Yet, missionary and author of “Pilgrim’s Progress,” John Bunyan says: “Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”
The less we pray to God, the less dependent upon Him we are in life. Yet, the more we pray to Him, the greater the dependency upon Him or general things is. We need Him for everything.
David Platt says: “If Jesus is the one giving your heart rhythm throughout the day and if He were to stop so would we.”
The fact is that we don’t need God to watch TV, surf the net mindlessly, play sports, or hang out with a social club. But if our lives are dependent upon Him just to live and we are risking everything we are for the sake of His kingdom, then we are going to find ourselves dependent upon Christ and thus, praying quite a bit.
I am by no means a perfect person. But I am altogether reliant on the life of a perfect person. I cannot demonstrate the way. But I can point you to it’s author. I am imperfect, yet perfected, by Christ, my perfect person.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20 ESV