We are commanded in Psalm 103 to “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits . . .” (v. 2). I don’t think most Christians even know all the benefits they have in being saved. It’s hard to forget what we aren’t aware we have.
My lost friend Mike drives me to my knees every day as I think about what he doesn’t have in not knowing Christ. And his lack helps me focus on my blessings so I can pray for him to come into God’s family.
Let’s think about another blessing which my lost friends don’t have —
16. THEY DON’T Have a Prayer LIFE!
I am not suggesting that my lost friends never pray. I’m sure many of them do. They pray when a loved one is seriously ill, when they’ve lost a job, when a child has wandered from the family at the beach and gotten lost, when the doctor comes in and says, “I’m sorry. But I have bad news.” And we Christians pray the same SOS prayers, don’t we?
But I’m thinking about a prayer LIFE. What do I mean? I mean the believer should treat prayer as a critical weapon in his arsenal. He resorts to prayer when under attack by his supernatural foe the devil. He turns to the Lord in faith when all around him seems to shout “you’ve been abandoned by your God!” He cries out to the Father when he faces situations he hasn’t been able to deal with on his own.
But those circumstances are emergency situations. How about daily interceding for our loved ones, praying for another believer’s spiritual growth, allowing the Lord to reorder our priorities by getting before Him in systematic prayer? How about engaging in those precious times of contemplating the Lord and His attributes (His mercy, goodness, kindness, strength, love, etc.)? God is no celestial vending machine. He is our Father, our Lord, our best friend, our Savior.
Samuel Chadwick, one of the greatest preachers of English Methodism, put it this way: “The one concern of the devil is to keep God’s people from praying . . . He laughs at your toil and he mocks at your wisdom. But he trembles when you pray!”
One of my blessings as a believer is the possibility that I will develop a life of prayer, not primarily to make the devil tremble, but to help me grow in so many areas of walking with Jesus. Scripture teaches us that prayer — (1) Can keep us from falling into temptation (Mt. 26:41); (2) Can help us love our enemies (Mt. 6:5); (3) Can give us sweet and secret times with our Father (Mt. 6:6); (4) Can remind us of God’s knowledge of our circumstances (Mt. 6:9); (5) Can test our belief in God’s meeting our needs (Mt. 21:22); (6) Can clarify God’s will for us and for others (Rom. 1:10); (7) Can make us aware of the Spirit’s assistance in interceding for us (Rom. 8:26); (8) Can test our faithfulness (Rom. 12:12); (9) Can practically help other believers (2 Cor. 1:11); (10) Can motivate us to pray for the spiritual growth of others (Eph. 1:18); etc.
So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? I may on occasion tell him I’m praying for him, not just for his salvation, but for his family, for his crises, for his coming to know Christ. Then I am to regularly and strategically intercede for his salvation. (to be continued)