"I will keep you in my prayers."
"I'll be praying for you."
Have you ever heard those words? Have you ever said them? It is the polite Christian thing to say in the face of someone's overwhelming problem. It's often said and just as often forgotten. When we do remember it is usually a quick one sentence prayer: "Lord bless so-and-so".
If we really believe that prayer makes a difference why don't we pray on the spot? Why don't we pray with the authority we have been given? Why don't we pray as if mountains will move right at that moment? In the parking lot. In the supermarket. Over the phone. In the coffee shop.
Did Jesus ever say "I'll be pray for you" when he faced the blind, sick, crippled, dead?
Did Jesus take people aside, move them into another room, find a quiet place to pray?
Prayer is not something we do on occasion as we think about it. Prayer is our big guns, our battering ram, our high explosives. A person who prays and believes is a dangerous person in this world. Things happen around people like this. Powerful things. Amazing things.
I married a woman like that.
When my wife prays things happen. When she speaks God is listening, waiting to spring into action. Not as her servant but as a daddy who takes delight in giving what he promised to give to his child. My wife understands this relationship and the goodness of God and the promises of Jesus and the power of the Spirit. She is not afraid to speak in the authority of Jesus and when she does speak things happen.
I used to be like that. Then I got busy.
But Jesus is not going to take busyness, even Kingdom busyness as an excuse. Work all you want but it will not measure up to what one prayer of a righteous person can do:
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
In Paul's great address to the Ephesians where he encourages them to put on the full armour of God and to stand their ground, there is only one instruction of action given. This is the action:
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6:18)
Prayer is not something we do before going into battle; prayer is the battle. What incredible things would happen if only we would remember. If only we would remember the place and importance of prayer. If only we would remember the power released in this world by prayer. In the many things Paul said to the Colossians Paul told them there was one thing they had to devote themselves to:
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 3:2)
A Christian who forgets the prominent place of prayer in our epic battle to bring Jesus to this dark world is a useless warrior stripped of his weapon. Pray is not poetic language of a polite society. Prayer is down in the muck and the trenches, releasing the power of God into every situation faced. Prayer is the weapon of trench warfare and I don't know if you've noticed but we are fighting in those trenches.
Devote yourself to prayer! It is essential to who we are and what we do in the authority of Jesus.