the habit of prayer

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Colossians 4:2

Going together with yesterday’s post on the word is this post on prayer. Both are central to our life and walk in Christ. We remember in Acts that the apostles set apart men to do special work in the church that needed to be done, so that they could give themselves to prayer and the word of God. In that case they were referring primarily to preaching, or proclaiming, as well as teaching that word. And yes, if we’re in the word we at least are witnesses to that through its impact on our lives. Of course I’m not talking about something apart from God. We’re talking about no less than God’s word itself.

Prayer is both our response to that word, and our anticipation of it. It would be best if we were in prayer all the time.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

A big part of prayer is silence in waiting before God. And in the midst of that, perhaps contemplating something of God’s glory and will, or whatever it is that God wants to get through to us in that silence. It’s amazing how silence can speak. In the tradition of the church, this has been called contemplative prayer. And I think scripture supports that.

God wants to hear our prayers. While we shouldn’t pray just for prayer’s sake, and fill the air with nonstop words (figurative of course, since most of our praying will likely be under our lips or in our minds), we need to have both preemptive, as well as reactionary prayer, as in words to God. It is a practice we may not at all feel like doing, and we may feel dead doing it at times, but we need to press on and simply do it. And keep doing it. So that it becomes a pattern of life by which we live. Even as we remain in the word along with others in and through Jesus.