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“One day … Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.”

– Luke 6:12

“Pray without ceasing.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV

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Prayer is a foreign language. It is the language of heaven. It doesn’t come naturally to many – if not all – humans. It’s work. Some of us fall asleep when we pray. Or let the cares of the day – or our smartphones(!) – interrupt our prayers. Or when we pray out loud, we realize we pray so that others will hear us – and be impressed or convicted. Or we get tired of going through the same list of needs – ours and others’– day after day.

Prayer is hard. But prayer is essential.

Jesus Himself – God in the flesh – felt it necessary to pray all night to His heavenly Father right before selecting the 12 disciples. And the apostle Paul tells us to pray all the time “without ceasing.”

That’s a lot of prayer! That’s likely more time in prayer than most of us devote.

We can’t pray enough. In fact, can anyone argue that it’s wrong to have more prayer?

We can and should pray about every little thing. Jesus tells us to keep bugging our heavenly Father about our needs (Luke 18:1). There is no concern too small to hold back from our loving Father. If we don’t take our issues to God, we act like “practical atheists.” We act as if we can handle that concern or fill that need on our own without God’s wisdom and help. But we desperately need to talk to Him! He wants us to come to Him with everything – like parents desire that their children come to them.

We can take anything to God – even and especially our disappointments. He can handle it! The Psalmist spent a lot of time complaining to God. When we take our concerns to God – even when we feel angry toward or argue with Him – we acknowledge that God is the top boss, the only one who can really address our concerns.

It helps if we remember to pray as if we are speaking to a real person, because we are! Jesus told us not to repeat the same prayers endlessly and formally – without really focusing on the words and so that others would be impressed (Matthew 6:7-8), but to pray what we call now “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 9:9-13), to pray for God’s will and His ways.

We find in Scripture admonitions to pray about everything – from our anxieties to our battles with sin, from our basic needs for food and clothing to workers to join the harvest for souls.

Yes, prayer can be really hard. It’s a battle. Satan and his henchmen surely don’t want us to seek God for help – and will try and trip us up in our endeavor to pray more.

So let’s pray now that God will help each of us enter a life of More Prayer!

And God will receive all the Glory as He answers our prayers in ways that best advance His kingdom and best turn our hearts toward Him. Amen and Amen.

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Other verses: Ephesians 6:18 and Philippians 4:6

Discussion questions:

  1. What can we learn about “more prayer” from Ephesians 6:18 and Philippians 4:6?
  2. How might you engage in “more prayer” now?
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