“Inattention to prayer actually gives place to the devil to advance his cause and evil.” -Todd Smith, Unless We Pray
An incident happened a couple years ago of which I only grasped its implications this week. It was July 2021. I had gone to a Wednesday night prayer meeting. There were only a few of us gathered, although our pastor was often reminding us as a congregation not to fall into “vacation mode” and lose spiritual focus, just because it was summer.
While we were praying, someone persistently came to my mind. It was a young man who had attended our church years prior, but I hadn’t seen him nor given him much thought in some time. The thought of him lingered so doggedly in my head, however, that I finally led out in a prayer for him. I can’t remember what I prayed, only how prevalent the thought of him was. And then we moved on.
The following evening, our church received word that this same young man had attempted to take his life the night before. He had nearly been successful, and narrowly missed severing a key artery. Extensive surgery and rehab was required.
“What happens when we don’t show up to pray?”
The Lord has been impressing upon me the gravity of prayer – and prayerlessness – in a new way this past year. It wasn’t until this past week, as mentioned before, that the thought crystallized for me, “What happens when we don’t show up to pray.”
Had I not gone to prayer that evening, could the Lord have used someone else to pray for this young man? Certainly. Would He have impressed upon me the thought of this person in such a way that I stopped whatever activity I was absorbed in and prayed fervently? Perhaps. But having gone to prayer, forsaking if only for a couple hours my own busy schedule and preoccupations, I had positioned myself to quiet my thoughts and hear how the Holy Spirit was leading.
This begs the question, what lives are affected and to what end by my staying in bed on a given morning instead of joining the daily corporate prayer group in our town? What plans of God does He wish to set into motion that I hinder (see Matthew 6:10) because in my busy plans for the day, I skip over my morning devotions?
All this to encourage you reading this, and myself as well, be not weary in well doing – especially the well doing of fervent prayer!