Make Prayer Top Priority (3)
If someone threatened your home or community, wouldn’t you defend them?
They are under attack, but the enemy’s invisible. Paul says the lion’s share of responsibility for stopping these attacks belongs to Christian men. ‘I want men everywhere to…[pray]’ (1 Timothy 2:8 NIV). Here the word ‘men’ isn’t the generic term for the human race or mankind; it’s specific to ‘males’.
Now, we’re not saying only men are supposed to pray. Every Christian must. We’re not saying that prayer is the only thing we should do. We’re saying it’s the first thing to do! John Bunyan said, ‘You can do more than pray after you’ve prayed, but you can’t do more than pray until you’ve prayed.’
James said, ‘…The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much’ (James 5:16 NAS). Note the word ‘righteous’. Every believer is clothed with the righteousness of Christ, which means you’re in right standing before God.
There are two kinds of righteousness: positional and practical. There’s righteousness you need to practise daily as you allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse, fill and use you. Just like you don’t want to drink from a dirty cup, God doesn’t want to hear the prayers of a Christian whose life is messed-up with junk.
The prayer God answers:
1) is offered by a clean heart;
2) has a seriousness and intensity that shows you’re not just throwing out a few wishes to see which ones God might grant;
3) lines up with God’s Word and purposes;
4) comes from an undivided heart, because ‘…a double-minded man receives nothing from the Lord’ (James 1:6-8).
‘…Men always ought to pray and not lose heart.’ Luke 18:1 NKJV