Did you think to pray?

We are all probably familiar with the hymn, Did you think to pray? It is a song that is found in most hymnals and when sung it admonishes its singers to contemplate the importance of prayer in their daily lives. While the majority of songs sang week-to-week are of praise and adoration to our heavenly Father, this song speaks primarily to the singer. The entire song originates around the simple question, Did you think to pray? From the very first verse, the writer is asking the singer to seriously evaluate his daily prayers –   

Before you left your room this morning, Did you think to pray? In the name of Christ, our Savior, Did you sue for loving favor, As a shield today?

While these questions are rhetorical and can be easily answered, they still deserve a fair and honest answer.

When we begin to study the Bible, prayer certainly becomes a familiar sight in almost every Bible character from the beginning to the end. Strong and courageous Bible characters one after another are continually noted for their habitual prayers and open communication with God. The great king David, a man after God’s own heart, wrote numerous Psalms praying for forgiveness, deliverance, protection, etc. Another good king, Hezekiah, when confronted with the invasion of Sennacherib went to God in prayer and was spared from invasion when God sent an angel and destroyed 180,000 men of the Assyrian army in one night (2 Chronicles 33:20-21). While these two examples only begin to scratch the surface, the need of prayer and the strength of one’s spiritual life are found to be uniquely tied throughout the Old Testament.

When we move into the New Testament, prayer again becomes a focal point in Jesus’ daily life. Jesus would routinely withdraw Himself by going either into a secluded area, the wilderness, garden or mountain to pray alone (Mark 1:35; Matthew 14:23). It was Jesus who prayed thanksgiving for the food and then fed five thousand men on one occasion and four thousand on another (Matthew 14:19; 15:36). It was His influence and daily prayer life that convicted His own disciples to ask, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). It was Jesus who went up on the mountain to pray, and while He was praying was transfigured (Luke 9:28-29). It was Jesus who, on the night of betrayal, prayed for Himself, His disciples, and all who would believe on Him through their word (John 17). It was Jesus who prayed three times for His Father’s will to be done (Mark 14:32-42). While dying upon the cross, Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of His enemies sins (Luke 23:34). In His final moments, Jesus committed Himself to prayer and said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46). The importance of prayer in our daily lives cannot be dismissed when it is evident throughout the life of Jesus. For if prayer was of this great importance for the Son of God, how much more should it be to us?

Prayer and its essential nature was not only stressed in Jesus’ own life but also found throughout His teaching. Jesus taught concerning prayer at many different points in His earthly ministry. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught that prayer was to be kept secret desiring to please the heavenly Father, not publicly displayed to be merely seen by men (Matthew 6:5-6). He continued by offering a model prayer helping His listeners to build a solid foundation in their  approach to the heavenly Father (Matthew 6:9-13). In the gospel of Luke, Jesus taught the importance of persistence in prayer (Luke 18:2-8). It was here Jesus asked, “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Will Jesus find our faith manifested by our persistence and reliance upon prayer?   

Our spiritual strength directly depends upon our desire to give time to prayer. In every circumstance of life, prayer needs to be the beginning, middle, and end. When your family moved to a new location, did you think to pray? When you decided which church to attend, did you think to pray? When you contemplated a new job offer, did you think to pray? When you decided to start a family, did they think to pray? When you have sat down to a meal at the table, did you think to pray? While we may out of routine pray prior to meals, what about the other occasions when prayer is needed the most? Prayer cannot be the last resort for help in our every day lives. We must make a commitment to spend more time each day with God in prayer. We must be persistent, diligent, humble, and forever grateful to our eternal Father for such a wonderful blessing such as prayer. May our lives be evident to the influence and impact of praying without ceasing. When Christ does return may we be found faithful in His glorious sight!