“In a child or a flower or a tree we are all aware that when there is no growth there is something wrong. Healthy life . . . will always show itself by progress and increase. It is just the same with our souls.” (Ryle, Holiness, 84)
In our 1st installment of this brief series, “How to Overcome Spiritual Mediocrity,” we discussed the importance of reading. (It can be found below.) In this spot, we’ll cover the next step: prayer.
In New Mexico there is a group of (27) satellites referred to as the Very Large Array. The antennae on these satellites is 82 feet in diameter. They weigh over 200 tons. The can be positioned to accomplish aperture synthesis interferometry, which uses all of the antennae’s to create a single image instead of numerous, separate images. The baseline is 22 miles in length! That’s a big picture. It’s helped with the study of black holes and protoplanetary disks (or circumstellar disks composed of dense gas and stone). But these satellites are also used for listening. We’re always listening to deep space. Interestingly, the radio waves, traveling millions of space miles, return so weak and faint that they barely equate the force of a snow flake hitting the ground.
Then there’s God — He’s spoken, loudly and clearly, in a language that we speak, and has done so through a means that relates to us — Jesus, the man. And He wants to talk. Are we willing to listen? Prayer is too often viewed as an opportunity to dump our list of requests at the fee of our Father-Genie, who is, as long as we utter the words “in Jesus name,” obligated to fulfill our demands. Prayer, instead, is a great opportunity for us to be quiet and listen to the Spirit of God.
Determine to pray. Make time for it. We arrange time for everything else, but prayer gets a shrug . . . a look of, “Ah, I wish I had more time for you . . . ” Ryle wrote, “Time may be short, but time is always long enough for prayers” (Prayer, 21). How is it that, when we don’t have time, we find it for trivial things (like television or perusing Facebook), things that don’t measure up against prayer? If Jesus had a long day, filled with demands, He would pray early (Mark 1:35) or pray late (Mark 6:45-47). If He was determined, should we too be determined?
If we are to be a people of prayer, then we have to determine to note its importance in our daily lives, sometimes even our moments, no matter what forces may be pressing our attention elsewhere. And this become easier, as we realize prayer’s benefits.
Realize that pray has a number of benefits. Here are a few:
- prayer invites purpose as it aligns us with God’s will
- prayer invites power as it connects us to the Almighty
- prayer invites purity as it bring us closer to the Holy One
- prayer invites petition as it opens the door for conversation with our Father
Who wouldn’t want these? I don’t know a Christian who doesn’t want know purpose, power, purity, and petition in their lives. Yet, each and every day that we neglect to pray, we forfeit them, voluntarily, even foolishly.
If you and I are going to overcome spiritual mediocrity, prayer must be an integral part of our lives. So let’s listen, to God, determine to spend more time talking to Him, and realize the benefits. Period.