Crying to Pray
By Pastor Scott
In the middle of our morning prayer time today, my youngest son broke down in tears. Let me back up a bit. Each morning after reading the Word, we spend a few minutes in prayer as a family. We pray for medical needs from Samaritan Ministries, lift up some foreign missionaries and pastors, and ask God to do something that we learned in the Scripture. For the last few days, our youngest (4 years old) has volunteered to pray the Samaritan Ministries requests for babies that are being born.
This is generally a parents’ delight, although our son was recently adopted and we have to feed him the prayer word by word. So, after having him pray for the last few days, I told him that someone else needed the chance to pray and he would need to listen today. The prayer began, and after the first person prayed, he started bawling – with tons of tears and such. The kids finished the prayer, then with all of us looking at the spectacle, my wife asked, “Why are you crying?” He managed to get the words out, “I pray.”
So, what is the point of telling you all of this? It struck me that many of us are quite different than my son. If we miss a time of prayer, or a chance to pray, it doesn’t break our hearts. We just go on like nothing significant was omitted. But should we? Shouldn’t we rather mourn when we miss the opportunity to commune with our Heavenly Father? Shouldn’t we grieve over not being able to bring the joys and sorrows of others to the only Father who has the power to answer, and whose compassions are new every morning?
As I sat at the table this morning, I was struck by just how far I have yet to go before I will become a person of prayer. Prayer is still a thing I must do instead of being a thing I need to do to survive, or better yet, a thing that actually defines my life and brings me joy. Maybe what the church in the West needs more than plans to reach the world, or great conferences, or powerful worship, is a heart that breaks for prayer.
Imagine how the world would be different if every believer in every church was crying out for more opportunities to pray with and for others. Picture what would happen if even one church in your community was dedicated to praying for the Kingdom of God to come to Earth as it exists in Heaven. Would that make a difference? Would God withhold his blessing from that city? Envision what would happen if even ten righteous people were willing to gather every week and pray for the church they attend, the elders who minister, the deacons who serve, and for those who benefit from these ministries. Would it affect the character and the results of the ministry?
So let me ask, “Shouldn’t our hearts be crying to pray?” Jesus invites us to pay attention to the words we hear, and the stories that are told (Mk 4:24). Would you commit to joining other brothers and sisters every Sunday morning at 8:15 a.m. to pray for the church and the world? Oh, the blessing it would be for our lives, if our hearts were broken when we couldn’t make it to prayer, rather than thinking that nothing much had been lost.
As we finished up our family devotion this morning, my wife fed the words to my son and he prayed them in his small, little voice. And when he finished, he was beaming; joy had returned to his face and his body. Such is the result when God’s people meet their Lord. And, Oh the smile that came over his Father’s face.