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Prayer

The First Work

Don’t the days feel shorter? Time seems to fly by. The year moves so fast that before we know it, summer will wrap up, and Fall kick-off will be right around the corner.

We live in the age of instant achievement, where it’s all about getting as much done as you possibly can. From meetings to making our services as efficient as possible, we’ve told ourselves that the more efficient everything is, the more effective everything becomes. This mindset turns our devotional lives into a footnote for our busy day-to-day lives, and when we do worship, read scripture, and pray, we are quickly onto the next thing because our lives have become built around work schedules for the day rather than our devotional lives.

What if prayer was one of the most important things you and I could do? What if I told you that being a Christian who doesn’t pray “is like being a human being who doesn’t breathe?” as Martin Luther said. And what if I told you “that the greatest answer to prayer is prayer itself,” as Pete Grieg said? 

Prayer isn’t just a means to an end, but it is the end; it is the goal. Not to work our way through our prayer lists—which is a part of prayer—but the heart of why God gave us prayer in the first place, just like John the Beloved showed us, is to lay your head against the chest of Jesus listening to His heart for you. 

Prayer is the first work we are called to do before we jump into the whirlwind that can be in our daily lives. If we forget the first work, the order of our day and our heart is, well, out of order. Skipping the first work is like skipping the Our Father in Heaven—part of the Lord’s prayer and jumping into the rest of that prayer. If we miss the first part, our focus won’t be on who God is, but on our needs for that day. And we’ll stumble throughout the day like a marathon racer not starting on the right foot when the race begins. 

In this day and age, what if the remedy against the busyness that is eating away at our souls is to stop, be still, and pray? To be with Jesus for no other reason than to be with Him? Will we pray for everything that we need to pray for? We will, but let’s do the first work, first! 

As we approach Easter weekend, what if, during this season of Lent, we rediscover why Jesus gave us prayer in the first place? Let’s give Him the first few moments of our day by reading a Psalm and praying through it. Or, walk and talk on your way to work. And maybe it’s not saying anything—being silent in His presence, wherever that is, and listening to what He thinks about you? Whatever it is, I know our hearts will be transformed by doing the First work.

Written by: Brian

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