It can sound very glib and unconvincing when someone tells you to pray about a particular problem and you will get an answer. I believe in the power of prayer but not in terms of it being a magic cure-all for the problems that confront us in our daily lives. For me the most important thing is whether or not I am trying to develop the daily habit of prayer. Herein lies the foundation for seeing prayer as at least part of the solution to all of our problems. Prayer is not something that I should be turning on and off in my life when I need it. It should be something that permeates every aspect of my life – something about which I will feel very uncomfortable if it is not there in regular and healthy doses.
The disciples are unable to cast out a particular demon due to a lack of prayer. Perhaps they had been neglecting this aspect of discipleship for a while and Jesus takes the opportunity to remind them to return to it. Perhaps their prayer needed to go a little deeper than where it was at? Perhaps any number of other different explanations, however, suffice it to say there was a need for further or deeper prayer in this instance.
There is a danger in each of our lives that prayer becomes routine and ineffective. It is important to guard against this so that prayer remains the lifeblood of our relationship with Jesus. We will experience ups and downs in prayer but this should not cause us to despair or give up. It should galvanize us into action to put more effort into prayer; to give the Lord quality time in prayer; to work hard to create an environment conducive to prayer. If we do this our prayer life will grow stronger. If we do not we will experience it withering away to nothing and that is when the major problems will arise and we will be without the where-with-all to combat them!
Is my prayer life in a healthy position at the moment? What can I do to make my prayer times better and more effective?
Lord Jesus, you demonstrate how important it is to pray as you took time aside in your ministry to do so. Help me to realize that I need to do the same – more than you ever did!