In Dan 6:10, after Darius signed a decree forbidding prayer to God, Daniel “kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel had a custom of praying three times a day. Daniel had a prayer life.
Likewise, we need a prayer life. When we read 1 Thes 5:17, “Pray without ceasing,” we can’t do that without a prayer life. When Jesus “spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint,” Lk 18:1, he was talking about a prayer life. Anna, the prophetess, in Lk 2:36-37, had a prayer life. She “served God with fasting and prayers night and day.”
I want to encourage you tonight to develop a prayer life. A prayer life is a whole lot more than just praying from time to time. Prayer becomes so much a part of your life that it is as essential and natural to you as eating and sleeping. You get to where you cannot live without it. A prayer life is:
A life with direction – Matt 10:5-14 – Jesus told his disciples where and where not to go, what and what not to do, what and what not to take, where and where not to stay. They had direction. When you have a prayer life, you have direction. Paul had a prayer life. Paul knew the Lord wanted him to go to Macedonia, Acts 16:9-10. Paul also knew the the Lord did not want him to go to Jerusalem, Acts 21:4. He had direction. David had a prayer life, Ps 55:17, and he had direction in his life, 1 Sam 23:9-12, for example. When you have a prayer life, you can pray for the Lord to direct your steps, Ps 37:23, and you will know the direction he wants you to go. You will also know not to go until he gives you direction. He’ll use his Spirit, his scripture, and godly counsellors to help you see the direction he wants you to go.
A life with power – Acts 4:31 – the disciples had prayer lives. They spent a great deal of undistracted time in prayer, Acts 6:4. When they needed boldness to preach the word of God, they prayed and the Lord gave them boldness and “great power,” Acts 4:33. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” Phil 4:13. A prayerless life is a powerless life. I remember an incident in high school that taught me a valuable lesson about God giving us power when we pray. It would be years later before I applied the lesson I learned that day. But I’ve never forgotten it since then. When you have a prayer life, you can look continually to God’s power for your strength.
A life with rest – Matt 11:28-30 – Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We come to Jesus in prayer when we have a prayer life. And he truly gives us the rest we need. One of the greatest evidences of his rest is the way he makes everything work out in perfect timing. We often stress about being able to get everything done that we need to do. When you have a prayer life, you find that the activities and responsibilities of your day fall right into place. God is the one who makes that happen. Much of the peace that is promised in Phil 4:6-7 comes from knowing that God is working out all the details over which we normally stress. We can truly rest in him, or rest in peace (before we are dead).
Conclusion: so the key to a life of direction, power and rest is to develop a prayer life. If you already have one, keep it going. If you don’t, why don’t you start today.