It was Martin Luther who once said, “I have so much to do that I must spend the first three hours of each day in prayer.” I came across that quote again this week as I was preparing for our 24-hour Day of Prayer this weekend at Shelby Crossings.
Often, a church’s call to prayer is precipitated by a crisis–a time of brokenness and repentance from sin; a need for direction in a time of decision; or crying out for God’s provision in a time of great need. Quite frankly, there is no great crisis, sin, decision or need that motivates this call to prayer. We just want to seek the Lord, in good times and bad, and make sure we stay on our face before Him, humble and open to His will.
The truth is, it is so easy to get distracted by the busy-ness of life’s business, and sidetracked from what is really important, so that we forget to spend focused time in prayer, both individually or corporately. So many of us live our lives that way every day–spinning our wheels, working hard, even planning diligently, but “too busy” to pray. We would all do well to listen to Luther’s words and understand that in fact most of us are too busy NOT to pray.
If you are like me, you probably feel like your life is always lived on a deadline, and usually in a hurry. When that happens, God often gets the leftovers of our time. As Samuel Chadwick once said, “Hurry is the death of prayer.”
So…we stop. To pray. If only for a brief time slot, we are asking that each of you who are a regular part of our church family take 30 minutes out of this weekend and “devote yourself to prayer.” (Colossians 4:2) If you can do more than a half hour, that would be better, but it’s not so much the time as the devotion with which we are concerned. We would love for you to join us in our worship center–around the clock–but if you can’t, we hope you’ll still join us in praying where you are.
So many of the great moves of God throughout the centuries–from Biblical times to church history–have been borne out of God’s people pulling themselves from their routine, taking time away from their distracted lives, and seeking His face.
I hope you will join me in fasting and praying this weekend–for our own lives, for our families, for our church, for our community, and for our nation. I’m praying for you, and look forward to seeing you this Sunday.