I can’t think of a year that I haven’t desired to grow more in my prayer life. This year is no different. As I listen to others, it seems this is a shared desire among many in the church. For some it is a lack of consistency. For others it is a lack of desire. Still others feel overwhelmed and distracted when they pray. What is it for you?
I was recently reminded of a sermon my pastor preached a few years ago on pray. He gave this encouragement: pray until you pray. Huh? That was my first reaction. What exactly does that mean?
In A Call to Spiritual Reformation, D. A. Carson explains:
Pray until you pray. That is Puritan advice. It is does not simply mean that persistence should mark much of our praying — though admittedly that is a point the Scriptures repeatedly make. … What they meant is that Christians should pray long enough and honestly enough, at a single session, to get past the feeling of formalism and unreality that attends not a little praying. We are especially prone to such feelings when we pray for only a few minutes, rushing to be done with a mere duty. … If we ‘pray until we pray,’ eventually we come to delight in God’s presence, to rest in His love, to cherish His will. … Such advice is not to become an excuse for a new legalism: there are startling examples of very short, rapid prayers in the Bible (e.g., Neh. 2:4). But in the Western world we urgently need this advice, for many of us in our praying are like nasty little boys who ring front door bells and run away before anyone answers. Pray until you pray.
This is how I will pursue growing in my prayer life this year. I want to slow down a bit, focus my mind on the Lord, and pray a little longer. I want to pray until I pray.
Pray until the pretense fades.
Pray until sin loses its appeal.
Pray until the burden is lifted.
Pray until I delight in God’s presence.
Pray until I’m seeking first the kingdom.
Pray until my heart is ready to sing His praise.
Pray until I’m emboldened to share.
Pray until I’m eager to love.
Pray until I’m resolved to do His will.
Pray until I’m at rest in his sovereign grace.
I’m not sure how you’re planning on growing in prayer this year, but I hope you’ll join me in praying until you pray.