No Time to Pray?
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1
Martin Luther was an important and busy guy. The previous sentence may be a gross understatement, considering that Luther is often credited with starting the Protestant Reformation. Even if he wasn’t the originator, he was certainly the most prolific and fiery of its early supporters. Despite his hectic work schedule, copious writing, preaching, teaching, and other plentiful tasks, he still diligently made time to pray. He is quoted as saying “I have so much to do (today) that I should spend the first three hours in prayer.”
Jesus too was an important and busy guy. (That sentence is clearly an even larger understatement than the one about Martin Luther!) As Savior of the world, Jesus spent His days traveling, teaching, arguing with religious leaders, healing sickness, driving out demons, and proclaiming the salvation available to the world through Himself as God’s one and only Son. (Among other things!) Yet “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). Mark gives us an example: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35).
The question for us is: If Martin Luther and Jesus Himself made time to pray, how can we possibly say we’re too busy?
Jesus begins his teaching on prayer during the Sermon on the Mount by saying “WHEN you pray”, not “IF you pray” (Matthew 6:5). It’s tough sometimes, because prayer doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Speak honestly to God: praise, frustrations, triumphs, fears, and deepest longings. After all, God already knows you better than you know yourself… there’s nothing to hide!
Remember that prayer doesn’t have to be long or complicated. It doesn’t need to be “holy sounding” either. You know what I mean, those prayers with all the right-sounding words that somehow end up sounding hollow. Use the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13 or Luke 11:2-6) as a guide, but not as a formula. Don’t just pray it rigidly, try to pray spontaneously, from the heart.
Just never use the excuse that you’re “too busy.” If Martin Luther and Jesus had time for prayer, you do too!
Questions: How do you make prayer part of your day? What happens when we don’t pray? Let’s spend some time praying together today.