Prayer is one of the great privileges of God’s children. The Lord has an open-door policy. We may approach his throne at any time. We may ask anything of him, according to his will. We may express any sentiment from the heart. He hears and answers our prayers.
Besides being a great privilege, prayer is also a great duty of the Christian. It is required in order to maintain and strengthen our relationship with God. It is a must for advancing the gospel in the world. Brotherly love requires that we pray often for the family of faith.
One small indication of the duty of prayer comes from the Lord Jesus, as Luke introduces one of his parables.
“Then Jesus told them a parable to show them they should always pray and not lose heart” Luke 18.1.
The verb “should” comes from the Greek term dei. Danker’s revision of Bauer’s lexicon says that in this text it refers to “that which one should do …: one ought or should …” The versions usually translate it as ought, should, or must.
Though his teaching on salvation goes awry, R. C. Sproul has this right:
“… we need to establish that it is the sovereign God who not only invites us but commands us to pray. Prayer is a duty, and as we perform that duty, one thing for sure is going to be changed, and that is us. To live a life of prayer is to live a life of obedience to God.”
More than one’s own life will be changed. As prayer is focused toward the mission of God and the salvation of others, many will be saved.
This commandment to prayer, this duty of the Christian to pray without ceasing is not a heavy or burdensome thing, when he considers what powers it opens to him, what blessings come from it, and what omissions occur in his life when he refrains from it.
One teacher, never one to oversimplify or exaggerate, attempted to help his hearers understand the power of prayer by saying that prayer is the way to get things from God. He was not being materialistic. He sought to urge all disciples to pray at all times because it brings all the spiritual blessings in Christ to bear in his life. It also blesses others.
If Jesus needed prayer for himself, and if he saw the importance of praying for others, John 17; Luke 22.31-32, must not we require it as well?
Prayer, then, is an absolute must. We cannot survive without it. We cannot work successfully when we forget it or allow Satan to keep us from it. We cannot love properly when we neglect it.
Have you done your duty today?