3 Ways we Respond to the Impulse to Pray
“Always respond to every impulse to pray.” – Martin Lloyd-Jones
How can we learn to pray at any given moment and at the very moment when we think of it? Maybe this will help.
Being Constant in Prayer
What does Paul mean when he wrote that we should be “constant in prayer?” In Romans 12, Paul was almost giving what I would call the job description of a Christian and in the middle of this great chapter he wrote “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). What does he mean by writing that we are to be “constant in prayer?” I believe it means what it says…being constantly in a state of prayerfulness. Sadly, it usually takes a great tragedy in someone’s life before they tend to become more constant in prayer. Paul says that we ought to always be constant in prayer, “rejoicing in hope, [being] patient in tribulation [and being] constant in prayer.” To be rejoicing in hope while being patient in tribulation takes constant prayer because as the Christian’s prayer life goes, so goes the believers hope and perseverance in times of trouble or the lack thereof.
Praying on all Occasions
Paul was not shy about requesting prayer from the church at Ephesus “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Eph 6:19-20) but he also believed that we should “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Eph 6:18). To “pray in the Spirit” is clearly referencing prayer by the help of the Holy Spirit as Paul says in Romans 8:26-27 that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” With the Spirit’s help, we can pray “on all occasions” and these occasions should be plentiful during the day.
Jesus gave the Parable of the Persistent Widow going before an unrighteous judge that refused to hear her pleas but day after day, she kept coming before him when finally the judge said “Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming” (Luke 18:4b-5). We don’t have to guess as Jesus’ point as He said “and will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily” (Luke 18:7-8a). The point is clear. Pray with persistence.
Nothing great was ever accomplished without prayer but much has been missed by not doing so, therefore we ought to be constantly in prayer, praying on all occasions and with persistence. As Paul seems to command “I desire then that in every place that men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (1 Tim 2:8) so is this our desire too?