The Consistency of Prayer – Gary Rohrmayer
Oswald Chambers wrote, ‘Prayer is not only asking, but an attitude of mind which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural.’ Prayer is a constant state of humility and dependence on our loving Father. When Paul writes, ‘And pray in the Spirit on all occasions,’ he reminds us of the four keywords for living a victorious Christian life: ‘pray in the Spirit.’ We define ‘praying in the Spirit’ as the means of praying the mind of God, under the will of God, by the continued assistance of the Spirit of God.
Now he adds that we are to pray ‘on all occasions.’ Meaning there is never a bad time to pray. Prayer should never be isolated to certain places or occasions but should be exercised whenever and wherever the Spirit prompts us to pray. Reflecting on the context of spiritual warfare, we can understand Paul’s urgency for ongoing prayer as our enemy never takes a rest from scheming against us. This is why we are admonished to ‘pray continually’ (I Thessalonians 5:17). As soldiers in this epic spiritual battle, our armor will function at a high level if we continuously communicate with the commander-in-chief. Soldiers on the front lines rely heavily on their unbroken contact with their commanding officers to help them navigate the battlefield. Without that unceasing communication, they could be quickly overrun by the enemy, making them vulnerable to attacks and ultimately defeats. So it is with us as followers of Jesus, the armor of God will only be effective as our continual dependence on the Father.
There are three strategies that Satan uses to attack our prayer lives:
- First, he will try to discourage us from praying. Have you ever thought that your prayers were useless? Do you ever get tired of praying prayers that go unanswered? Have you ever said to yourself, ‘What is the use? I pray, and nothing happens!’ Those discouraging doubts are planted in our minds by our scheming enemy. It’s at that moment we are to put on the belt of truth like David in Psalm 13, who in one breath said, ‘How long, O Lord?’ (v. 1) and in the next said, ‘But I trust in your unfailing love’ (v. 5).
- Second, he will try to distract us from praying. We should not be amazed that when we give time to focused prayer, crazy things happen. Satan is the master of distractions. Jesus asked his disciples to pray for him for one hour. What happened? They all fell asleep! Jesus said to them, ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak’ (Matthew 26:41).
- Third, he will try to deter us in our prayers. Satan wants to weaken our prayer lives and does it in many ways: He will entice us into sin (Psalm 66:19). He will place idols in our lives (Ezekiel 14:1-3). He will cause relational strife (I Peter 3:7). He will seduce us to pray with the wrong motives (James 4:3). He will use our selfishness against us. Solomon wrote, ‘Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered’ (Proverbs 21:13). John Piper offers this challenge to our prayer lives, ‘Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den.’ May we find victory today as we allow prayer to permeate our lives.