Colossians 4:2 “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;”
Humans can scale the highest mountains and live in the harshest deserts. But we all live precarious lives: ones not far from death if we lose access to simple things like water, food, or even sleep. How long can we survive without the basics? Every person and situation is different, though the “rule of threes” gets at the desperate nature of what our bodies need: three weeks without food, three days without water, and only three minutes without oxygen.
Do you want to know the primary reason we don’t pray more consistently-we don’t think we need to! In truth, we need prayer more than we need physical oxygen.
John MacArthur, in his book “Alone with God,” writes on the fixed, life-sustaining commitment we each must have to prayer:
For Christians, prayer is like breathing. You don’t have to think to breathe because the atmosphere exerts pressure on your lungs and forces you to breathe. That’s why it is more difficult to hold your breath than it is to breathe. Similarly, when you are born into the family of God, you enter into a spiritual atmosphere wherein God’s presence and grace exert pressure, or influence, on your life. Prayer is the normal response to that pressure. As believers, we all have entered the divine atmosphere to breath the air of prayer. Only then can we survive in the darkness of the world.
Unfortunately, many believers hold their spiritual breaths for long periods, thinking brief moments with God are sufficient to allow them to survive. But such restricting of their spiritual intake is caused by sinful desires. The fact is, every believer must be continually in the presence of God, constantly breathing in His truth to be fully functional.
Because ours is such a free and prosperous society, it is easier for Christians to feel secure by presuming on instead of depending upon God’s grace. Too many believers become satisfied with physical blessings and have little desire for spiritual blessings. Having become so dependent on their physical resources, they feel little need for spiritual resources. When programs, methods, and money produce impressive results, there is an inclination to confuse human success with divine blessing. Christians actually behave like practical humanists, living as if God were not necessary. When that happens, passionate longing for God and yearning for His help will be missing-along with His empowerment. Because of this great and common danger, Paul urged believers to pray at all times and devote themselves to prayer. Continual, persistent, incessant prayer is an essential part of Christian living, and it flows out of dependence on God.
If we cannot survive more than three minutes without oxygen, would you join me in not allowing the same gap to be any wider between vertical, intercessory “breathes” today?