I’m sitting in our home at my second office. I have a fine study at the church, which I really appreciate, but since my son went to college a couple of years ago, I was granted another option for a study space – his room. That’s where I am now. I keep my “happy light” here for the winter days, and sometimes use this place for time with God and other things.
Anyway, when I got up this morning, I had a thousand things to do. I’m going to a conference next week with the elders and our wives, and I have a couple of things I want to get done before that (like four blogs for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so I don’t have to think about them then); and Elisabeth’s birthday is this Saturday, which means I’ll need to have the sermon done earlier than usual this week. I have a lunch appointment today and tomorrow, not to mention a standing breakfast appointment on Thursday mornings. Oh yeah, and I never got around to taking the garbage out last night. That’s done now.
And all this is to say, I haven’t prayed yet today.
Some days it takes me longer to come to prayer. And there are, of course, days that I don’t come to it much at all. I like to think that such days are much less frequent than at earlier times in my life, but they still come around: My head hits the pillow at night and I think, “Uh oh.”
I find it hard to pray sometimes because there is a fight going on inside my heart. The fight is with a little nagging voice from in the corner of my mind somewhere saying, “You don’t think you’re really accomplishing anything with this, do you?” So moved by this voice, I sit down to pray and I think, “There are so many things I need to do. Do I really need to do this? What is it accomplishing?” That one thought, probably more than any other, is responsible for keeping me from prayer.
And then, like this morning, I turn to God’s word and I am absolutely refreshed in my thinking about prayer:
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. Romans 15:30-32 (ESV)
Paul really believed (and the Holy Spirit taught through him!) that the Roman church could come along side him and help him, that is “strive together with” him in prayer. I find this absolutely glorious.
I’m not on the mission field, but I can be on the mission field “with” our church’s missionaries, striving with them in prayer. I’m not with my sweet wife Diane all day, but I can be with her, striving with her in her multitudinous responsibilities. I’m not with my son at college or my daughters at school, but I can strive with them for the hard things going on in their lives. The staff of Edgewood is going a thousand different directions all week long, but, glory to God, I can go with them and strive together with them in prayer.
And it does something! Paul believed the prayers coming from the believers in Rome would deliver him from the unbelievers in Judea, make his service acceptable, and even eventually get him to Rome…with joy. Talk about accomplishing – the teaching of Scripture again and again and again is that prayer gets things done…because God answers prayer! Amen!
Well, thanks for reading today, but I had better put the computer away for now.
I’ve got something really important I need to do.
Tomorrow: April 10th: Romans 16