We ought always to pray

If you are like me, then as soon as you see an article with the heading containing the word “prayer” your heart sinks because most likely, it will be yet another “spanking” for being prayer-less. I want to assure you that this edition of Reformation Zambia is not meant to follow that regime. Pastors who want us to raise our levels of commitment to prayer have written the articles on prayer in this issue. They write from a winsome perspective and not a rebuking one.

The Bible is a book that challenges us to pray from many fronts. One of them is by simply pointing us to the many cases of answered prayer. The Patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—were men who walked with God and often talked with him in prayer. For instance, we read, “Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived” (Genesis 25:21). The more you read such testimonies in Scripture, the more you want to call upon the Lord in your own difficult times so that you can experience answered prayer.

Prayer is talking with God. It happens when a human being enters into communion with God, whether his words are audible or not. That communion can take the form of adoration, or confession, or thanksgiving, or supplication. As the apostle Paul told Timothy, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1).

Why should we pray? Often, what leads us to prayer is that something happens or is about to happen that shows us how vulnerable we are. We realise that we need divine intervention and so we give ourselves to prayer. However, if we look closely at the pattern we were given by the Lord Jesus Christ in what we call, “The Lord’s Prayer,” it soon becomes evident that the main reason we should be praying is that it is one vital way in which we bring honour to God in the midst of a fallen world.

In the Lord’s Prayer, the first few items are all related to the progress of the kingdom of God in this world. The prayer goes, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…” (Matthew 6:9–11). The giving to us of our daily bread—which refers to the provision of our daily physical needs—almost sounds like an afterthought. The first few items are about God and his honour in this world. That is how our prayers should be!

So, the Bible wants us to entreat the Lord that he may come down and give wind to the sails of the work we are doing for the prosperity of his church. We must call upon him and cry to him that he may glorify himself in this world. God urges us to beseech and implore him to make bare his holy arm. This is not to be a one-off affair. We are to seek him day and night until he descends in power. God wants us to be specific in our asking so that we are able to ascertain when he answers our prayers. In our moments of doubt in life, God wants us to inquire of him and look to him for guidance.

As I said earlier, this issue of Reformation Zambia is a very pastoral one. The authors are not banging you on the head with Scriptures so that you may cower into the prayer room out of a sense of guilt. They winsomely seek to enlarge your heart for prayer. Francis Kaunda, a former pastor with vast pastoral experience, in his article entitled, “The Mandate of Prayer,” does an exposition of 1 Timothy 2:1–5 in providing the framework for the subject. He opens by looking at the importance of prayer and closes it by looking at its foundation. Pastor Poniso Kuyumbana deals with why God should want you to pray. He writes in such a way that the more you appreciate the logic in his article, the greater the priority you will give to prayer in your life.

Pastor German Banda follows this up with an article on how to pray more effectively. Anyone who enters into communion with God through prayer wants to know that he is reaching the ear of God. This article helps you to put aside those hindrances that often cause God to shut his ears towards us. Finally, Pastor Matthews Fikati deals with what we ought to be praying for. As you read this article, you start wishing you had ten lives in order to cover more effectively the many areas that need to be prayed for.

Let me end this editorial with the words that introduce the reason why Jesus gave the parable of the persistent widow. Luke says, “[Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Whatever we learn from this issue of Reformation Zambia, may it result in us sensing the need always to pray and not lose heart. May this result in full church prayer meetings and regular personal and family prayer times. Amen!