“Devoted to prayer.” Romans 12:12
Prayer is like breathing for a believer. We do it consciously and subconsciously. At least we should be.
Convicted yet? I am! I do pray, but I am convinced that my prayer life cannot appropriately be described as devoted. I sure don’t pray continually as commanded by the Lord through Paul (1 Thess. 5:17).
My lack of prayer is nothing short of folly.
Why? Because of the simple fact that God hears and answers the prayers of His people.
He really does.
I shared that truth recently in a class of college students. My text was one of my favorite on the subjects: Luke 11. Listen to what Jesus had to say on the issue:
Luk 11:5 Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; Luk 11:6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; Luk 11:7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.‘ Luk 11:8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. Luk 11:9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Luk 11:10 “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Luk 11:11 “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Luk 11:12 “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? Luk 11:13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
It is easy to see why this passage is such an encouragement to us to pray, isn’t it?!
Believers have a Father who hears and answers our prayers. He enjoys giving good gifts to His children! That’s why we are exhorted to pray persistently (the friend kept pestering his buddy) and specifically (we ask for a fish, not a snake).
Our motivation for persistent and specific prayer comes from the Scripture.
Stephen J. Cole from Bible.org adds these important observations to the topic:
The Greek verb means to adhere to, persist in, be devoted to, or hold fast to something (, by William Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich [University of Chicago Press, 2 ed.], p. 715). It is often used with reference to prayer in the New Testament. As the early church waited for the promised Day of Pentecost, we read, , “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer ….” Later, Luke sums up the activities of the Jerusalem church (), “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
When the apostles sought to find seven faithful men to take care of the problem of meeting the needs of the widows, they explained (), “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Paul instructed the Ephesians (6:18) about , “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints ….” “Perseverance” translates the noun that is related to the verb, “be devoted to.” In , Paul writes, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.” And, although he does not use the same word, Paul expresses the same concept in , “Pray without ceasing.” The Greek word translated “without ceasing” was used of a hacking cough and of repeated military assaults. So the idea is not that we pray every waking minute, but that we keep coming back to prayer again and again. We are relentless in prayer.
So these verses tell us that prayer is not to be a little segment of our lives, where the extent of our praying is to bless our food before meals or to pray with our kids as we tuck them into bed. Rather, prayer is to permeate all of life. We should pray about virtually anything and everything. And so, being devoted to prayer is one of those commands that I’ll never be able to check off my list and say, “I’ve got that one down. What’s next?” No, there is always room to grow more devoted to prayer.
A secondary motivation comes from our experience, but space prevents me from elaborating at this point. However, the information above should be all the exhortation we need at the presence. God invites us to pray persistently and specifically, and we are told the He both hears and answers the prayers of His people. Since “there is always room to grow more devoted to prayer,” let’s do so!