Sometimes prayer can feel like a waste of time. Surely I’m not the only one who feels like this. I’ve got a lot of stuff to do. I’ve got books that I need to read, sermons to prepare, kids to play with, diapers to change, and television to watch (Downton Abbey is a long series). When I’m praying it feels like I’m not doing anything. Like I’m just sitting around. Like nothing is happening. I need to get moving on my day and start getting things done.
But then I read quotes like the this one by Martin Luther:
Martin Luther, when once asked what his plans for the following day were, answered: “Work, work, from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
If anyone was busy, it was Martin Luther. That guy was leading a spiritual revolution! He was preaching, writing, pastoring, translating the Bible into German, being a dad, and being a husband. He was incredibly, overwhelmingly busy. His calendar was always full. And yet, in spite of his incredible workload, he found it absolutely necessary to pray. He had to meet with God before he met with the cares of the day. He would not dive into his day without first being refreshed by the Lord. He knew that he couldn’t serve the Lord well without first asking God for help.
Jesus was an even greater example of the necessity of prayer. Jesus was given the task of being our savior! He was constantly swamped with people and with ministry opportunities. He was constantly being pressed on every side by needy people. And yet he always carved out time to meet with his Father. He would pray through the night. He would set aside ministry opportunities so that he could spend more time seeking God’s face.
Prayer can be tough for me. I’m not a prayer warrior, or Jedi intercessor, or anything like that. I get easily distracted, and now that I have three little girls, my time is even more stretched. I have a lot of different things that need to be done. But I know that I need to pray. I need to meet with God, be strengthened by God, receive wisdom from God, cast my cares on God, and cling to God. If I’m going to serve my family well, I need to pray. If I’m going to serve my church well, I need to pray. If I’m going to serve my wife well, I need to pray.
The Bible seems to indicate that fruitful service to God flows out of consistent dependence on God. I want to be fruitful. I need to be dependent.