In the same way as we encourage one another to see that there is no point in us beating ourselves up about our lack of evangelism if we’re not exactly excited about the evangel, (if we’re not excited about the good news) then the same is true with prayer; there’s no point in us beating ourselves up about our lack of prayer if we’re not excited about the prayer that is already taking place in heaven for us by Christ.
Our prayers are completed; church, if we didn’t pray one more prayer for the rest of our lives, our souls would be safe. We don’t pray in order to earn our salvation with God the Father; we pray in thankfulness and in response to the salvation of God the Father. We pray because we can, we pray because it’s a privilege. It’s not that we’ve got to pray; it’s that we get to pray. And so, meditate on the wonder of being prayed for by Christ, and then also rest assured in the fact that your fellow church members, and especially your church leaders, are praying for you.
But then, once we are resting assured in all of that, then we seek to respond ourselves, and we seek to obey the command that James gives, which is for us to be praying for one another; we must pray for one another. And it must be constant, it must be consistent, there must not be a moment of the day where we’re not praying, even as we’re talking to someone else or doing something, there’s constant prayer going on, and then there are these dedicated times of prayer…
Psalm 119:164 gives us this model, which is of a seven times a day prayer pattern. That’s a good rule of thumb; but of course, the number seven is a number of completeness and perfection, so really that’s the psalmist’s way of saying that we are constantly to be praying. But seven is a good rule of thumb, divide the day up into seven parts and pray at the very least seven times a day.
And then have dedicated times. If you’re living in a family, have dedicated family times of prayer, have dedicated private times of prayer, and then of course, prioritise the church prayer-meetings and the church services where we pray together (you have already publicly-vowed to make these meetings your first priority if you are a member of AP). These wonderful opportunities that we have to do what Paul did, to be remembering one another constantly in our prayers, night and day.
And yet when we become weary in it, or when we have taken our eyes off Christ for a few days (or a few weeks or even a few years), we come back, and we say sorry, and we start again. We say, “Please help me,” and then remember others in prayer. And Christ welcomes you back with open arms.