APPROACHING GOD IN PRAYER
As I interact with Christians in North America, the conversation inevitably focuses on the seemingly irreversible state of world affairs—terrorism, persecution, economic collapse, political upheaval and injustice. Frequently a hand-wringing sentiment is expressed that since the Bible predicts the last days will be characterized by evil and perilous times, there is nothing to be done. In reality, there is one essential activity in which all Christians can and should be engaged:
“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving . . .”
The urgency encapsulated in this short statement by the apostle Paul is palpable. Two words stand out in particular as he communicates the necessity of prayer in the life of the mature Christian.
The first is the Greek word, proskartereō (προσκαρτερεω), translated “continue” that conveys the concept of devotion. Christians are to give unwavering, persevering and incessant attention to prayer. Not a frivolous diversion; time spent in prayer is the essence of Christian living. Paul admonished the Thessalonian church to, “pray without ceasing” (2 Th. 5:17).
The second is the Greek word, grēgoreō (γρηγορεω), translated “vigilant” in our text. Prayer is not a ritual, but rather a conversation with the God of creation requiring an attitude that is alert, engaged, focused and informed.
Paul finishes the thought saying that the persistent focused prayer of mature Christians will also be characterized by thanksgiving—giving evidence of genuine faith. Prayer should not only thank God for what He has already done, but also anticipate what He will do in answer to our prayer.
In the face of world conditions, Christians are not left to numb disillusionment or hopeless despair.
We have the privileged opportunity of approaching the God of creation in prayer—at any moment—in any place; no matter is too small or any concern too great!
Take advantage of that privilege; make a commitment to designate time for prayer. Encourage others to join you at both scheduled and impromptu times praying for the challenges facing the world today. And then, rest in the assurance that God is working!
1) Bible opened to Isaiah. By Ken Horn, [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Embarkation of the Pilgrims. By Robert W. Weir, (photograph courtesy, Architect of the Capitol) [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.