Prayer is vitally important to Christians as it pertains to our continued communication with our Heavenly Father. In fact the Bible tells us to , “pray without ceasing” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17) so as Christians our lives should be a life of consistent and urgent prayer.
Jesus’ Prayer Pattern
Jesus Christ prayed continually throughout His days here on earth. The Book of Luke especially gives us a unique glimpse of the prayer life of Jesus and it shows us that Jesus did almost nothing without praying first.
“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened” (Luke 3:21)
“But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (Luke 5:16)
“In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)
"Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”’ (Luke 9:18)
“And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.” (Luke 9:29)
“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)
“but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32)
"And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed” (Luke 22:41)
“And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)
Prayer is not secondary
From the aforementioned verses we can conclude that prayer was and is extremely important to Jesus.
If prayer was this crucial to that of Jesus, then it should be more important to us. Prayer should not be viewed as an afterthought but a foremost one.
If Christ being the “Son of God” (John 3:18) thought to pray before He embarked any event in His life, then we ought to follow the Good shepherd and “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther
The smallest of life’s circumstances should prompt us to pray. Life can sometimes seem monotonous and mundane however that should not halt the action of zealous and heartfelt prayer. The Bible declares, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11)
Confession: I know who I am in Christ. I am a new creation. I am the righteousness of God. I am a joint heir with Jesus. I am more than a conqueror. I am a world overcomer, and from this day forward I am a winner!
I’ve spent the better part of my adulthood praying and asking God to make a connection with me, and he remains silent. I don’t know how I’m supposed to just “keep the faith” and wait any longer. If he were really there, wouldn’t he have answered my prayers by now? Why would he make me wait so long? How is that supposed to help me?
A lot of us, from what I know anyways, have been raised Catholic. However far you got in your religious education, whether you’ve just been baptized or you made it up to Confirmation, the idea of guilt has been branded into us from a very young age. We learned that we are born with original sin, that our bodies belong to God and our future spouse, that we must always be on our best behavior lest we succumb to the fiery pits of hell for all eternity.
My dudes, this is your gentle reminder that Jesus was a man of color who called for equality, peace, the redistribution of wealth, and socialized healthcare.
This is your gentle reminder that Mary was an unwed mother in a time where such an offense could be punished, but she rose above societal expectations and gave birth to a son that would change the world, and that son always checked in with his mother for her opinion, because he valued her intelligence, compassion, and ability to lead.
This is your gentle reminder that the Apostles were all angry teenagers and 20-somethings who hated the way the world worked and who followed the only man who made sense to them, because Jesus was a radical in his time.
The idea of Catholic Guilt is built on whitewashed re-imaginings of Jesus, his family, and his followers. The modern Conservative would rather portray Jesus as a passive, peaceful white man than as the fiery radical that he was, because the idea of following such a man would destabilize the backwards little bubble they’ve created for themselves.
You have nothing to feel guilty about. Autonomy is not a sin. Distancing yourself from the toxic portrayal of faith that has been coming out of Rome is not a sin. Living your best life for yourself is not a sin. Taking care of yourself is not a sin. Being true to yourself is not a sin.
If there is something that God has spoken into my life over and over again, it is that He always has my best interest in mind. God paints a picture in His Word about what is right and what is wrong, for a reason. The non-believer may think that Christianity is all about rules. But I would like to offer another side. I’ve found that the things in life that lead me away from God, always lead to self-destruction. That rings true in my life, and the lives of people around me whom I’ve seen stray away and do their own thing. A god who lets you do what ever you want and get away with it, is not a loving god. But guys… our God cares about us SO much, that He’s made it clear about what will prosper us, and what will destroy us. Sometimes that looks like conviction, and sometimes that looks like Grace. With that, let me say… there is a reason why He wants our lives to line up with His Word. He has a reason.
There is no sin that God looks upon and says, “No, I won’t forgive that one.” There is not one repentant heart that Jesus would ever turn away. Our sin, what ever it may be, hinders our walk with God. It does not allow us to move forward. It breaks our communication lines with Him, and leaves us feeling like we are so far away. Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” How can Jesus work in the life of a person who sees no fault in their sin? Sin is what slowly (but surely) ruins our relationship with God if we do not lay it down at His feet and ask Him to forgive us.
Lord, give me a repentant heart. Help me to recognize my own sins, and ask for your forgiveness so I may be able to walk free from it. You are merciful and loving, and I want to be close to You. Let nothing get in the way of our relationship. Amen!