The Occupation of Praying

 

I’m sure most brothers and sisters know the importance of praying. Some have compared praying to breathing, the autonomous reaction to the sustenance of spiritual life. Through prayers, we can express to God our gratitude, praises and worship. We can devolve to Him our heavy burdens, seek the blessings we require, and also petition for others, so that God’s kingdom and His will can be brought to earth.

 

Praying is a form of service that is pleasing to God, a glorious occupation for the saints. At the time the Lord was born, there was a prophetess called Anna. She was widowed seven years after she married as a virgin. Until the age of 84, she did not leave the temple, but served God day and night through fasting and praying. (Luke 2:36-37) We see then that praying and making supplication is an occupation of service to God. Peter also pointed out that each disciple is of a royal priesthood, not only to pray for oneself, but to intercede between God and men by petitioning for others. (1 Peter 2:9) In the Old Testament we learn of many great people of prayer, who held important roles in the occupation of praying. Abraham was a forefather who prayed. He often built altars for communion with God, and also petitioned for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18:17-33) Job was a father who prayed. He often prayed for his children and his friends. (Job 1:4-5, 42:8-10) Moses was a leader who prayed. For 40 days and nights he fasted and prayed for the Israelites. (Deuteronomy 9:18-20, 25) Aaron was chosen and called to be a priest of prayer. He stood between the living and the dead and made supplication, so that the plague brought down by God as punishment was halted (Numbers 16:41-50) Joshua was a warrior who prayed. (Joshua 10:12-14) Samuel was a judge who prayed. (1 Samuel 7:5-12, 12:23)  David was a king who prayed. (2 Samuel 24:17, 25) Jeremiah was a prophet who prayed. (Jeremiah 8:18-22, 9:1) Ezra was a reformer who prayed. (Ezra 8:21-23, 9:3 -10:1) Nehemiah was a builder who prayed. (Nehemiah 1:4-11)

 

Since we have all these witnesses of prayer, we should be doubly inspired to be loyal in our occupation of praying. When I was going to the seminary, I came to know several Korean students. Their church was very fervent in spirituality. Every morning at 6 AM, the church doors opened for the brothers and sisters so that they could pray together and serve God before heading to work. The result was that God lavishly bestowed His blessings so that they multiplied in quality and quantity. According to many actual ecclesiastic examples, a church that places emphasis on the service of prayer will certainly be a church of strong spirituality. If we make an accounting based on the number of attendees at our Wednesday evening prayer meetings - the average number being 24 – that only comes to around 17% of those at Sunday worship. This ratio of those keeping watch for the spirituality of the church is rather pitiful. The church is currently facing the challenge of building a new hall. Add to the fact that we will be witnessing for God on No. 5 Rd. amidst all the heathen religions, we will especially need to strengthen our training and provision for prayer. Only then will the lampstand of the church illuminate this darkened area. Therefore, I hope that those brothers and sisters who regularly come back to pray on Wednesday evening continue to hold fast to this glorious service, and not be dejected or lax. I hope those members who have not prayed and kept watch for the church make a resolution to come back at least once a month to the prayer meeting, and learn to pray and petition together. If everyone takes on this burden to pray for the church, the attendance at the Wednesday meeting will surely be invigorated. I know that everyone works very hard during the day, and afterwards may still have to take care of children and home, and perhaps also cope with continuing education. Therefore, I encourage those couples with children to take turns attending. I believe God will be pleased with the extra effort we take to serve in prayer.

 

“Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)

 

By: Daniel To