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We all know that we should pray, and we do pray at certain times. But most of us need to pray more. Prayer should be an important part of our everyday lives. Communion with our Heavenly Father in prayer should be a part of the very fabric of our way of living. Our practice should be, as Paul said, to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17), or, as the Lord Himself taught, to "pray and not lose heart" (Lk. 18:1). We should not have a need or a concern that we do not talk to God about. And, of course, we should continually offer thanksgivings to Him for the many good things He has already done.
For many of us, the problem comes down to a problem of time. To pray as we ought would require the rearrangement of our schedules. Perhaps, like the Lord, we would have to sacrifice some sleep in order to pray, either getting up before anyone else or staying up after others have gone to bed. Whatever may be the case, we need to make the time to pray more than we do. Whatever the activities that keep us from praying, few of these come close to being as important as prayer.
We will not have the depth of spiritual maturity we desire if we spend no more time alone in intimate communion with God than most of us do. Growing strong and wise in the Lord requires regular prayer. Spiritual giants like David and Daniel were men of constant communication with God. When Daniel was commanded, on pain of death, not to pray to God anymore, the text says that "when Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously" (Dan. 6:10). As he had done previously! In other words, Daniel's habits were his helpers on this difficult day. He just continued to pray as he had been doing every day for many years.
Prayer needs to be a daily custom with us, just as it was with Daniel. Yes, it will require self-discipline and a certain amount of sacrifice. But the rewards are more than worth it, and the consequences of too little prayer are not the consequences we want for ourselves or our loved ones. This week, let's make prayer a priority in the way we live each day.
Monday: Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; 6:12
Key Idea: Jesus found the time to pray often and long.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Jesus do to make time for prayer? How busy was Jesus? Consider Mk. 6:31. If we are so busy that we have little time to pray, what are some practical things we could do to address the problem? Compared to other things, how important is prayer?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 23:26-28.
Tuesday: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Key Idea: We should pray "without ceasing."
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to pray "without ceasing"? According to v.18, what should be one thing we emphasize in all of our praying? What should we do at times when we find that praying has become an unwelcome chore?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 23:29-35.
Wednesday: Luke 18:1-8
Key Idea: We should be persistent in prayer.
Questions for Family Growth: According to v.1, what is the main point of the story that Jesus told? What does the word "faint" (KJV) mean? What other translations of this word can you find? Why do you think God want us to be persistent in our praying?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 24:1,2.
Thursday: 1 Thessalonians 1:2,3; 2:13; 3:9,10
Key Idea: We should pray often for our fellow Christians.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Paul mean by "constantly mentioning you in our prayers" (1:2)? How often does it seem that Paul prayed for the Thessalonians? What does it mean to pray "most earnestly" (3:10)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 24:3,4.
Friday: Acts 12:5,12
Key Idea: The church should pray about its work and its needs.
Questions for Family Growth: In Ac. 12, what was the problem the church in Jerusalem was praying about? Were the brethren merely praying individually in their own homes about this? What size group had met to pray for Peter?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 24:5,6.