Being Devoted to Prayer- Are you playing or praying? The two disciplines that people struggle with the most is the word and prayer.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
“Pray Earnestly” This is why I’m so convicted because I do not believe we are a church that prays desperately, and I apologize for that. I do not believe we are a people who cry out to God like we really need Him. Sure, we come with our list of things that we want or desire, but there is no desperation.
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Revival tarries because there is a lack of urgency in prayer in the church.”
He went on, and said, “Hell has nothing to fear but a God anointed, prayer-powered church.” And based on that, hell is simply not afraid of church in America right now.”
Samuel Chadwick put it best, he said, “The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing of prayer less studies, prayer less work, and prayer less religion. He laughs at our toil; he mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” And we are a people who know how to do the promotion and we know how to do the plans and we know how to do the programs. We can do them in our sleep, but have we done all those things while leaving prayer behind.
Let’s look at practically
Nehemiah 1:4 ESV
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah is a great example of a pray life and strong intimate relationship with God. We often approach prayer to get something good or avoid a bad consequence rather than to develop an intimate relationship with God. Prayer and the word are the two disciplines that we struggle with.
Nehemiah 1:4-11 ESV
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.  And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
• Adoration- Nehemiah 1:5 And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
Nehemiah 1:6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned.  We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.
• Confession-Nehemiah 1:6-7
Nehemiah 1:8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples,  but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’
• Thanksgiving- Nehemiah 1:8
Nehemiah 4:10] They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.  O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was cupbearer to the king.
• Supplication- Nehemiah 1:11
Prayer is the means to an intimate relationship with God. The problem is that we often approach prayer as a means to get something good or avoid a bad consequence rather than to develop an intimate relationship with God.
Relationships require time. Intimate relationships are fashioned through time together. If we want healthy relationships with our spouse, our kids, our friends, or our God, we need to spend time with them. The obstacle is that no one seems to have enough time. Our priorities are reflected by our allocation of this precious resource...time. We generally believe that we don’t have time to pray. We must take time away from other valuable areas and devote that time to develop a life-transforming, intimate relationship with God through prayer.
Prayer is not a performance, but a dialogue of intimacy with God. Prayer helps to change us and helps us to find God’s will. Prayer is like sitting down to a meal with God and getting to know Him. The purpose is to cultivate a relationship rather than fulfill a function or perform a task.
Pastor Michael Petit