A Call to Pray

By Pastor Teck Uy

It is a fact that all men will face trials, problems and all sorts of challenges in life. Some will have difficult ones while others will have easier ones. But when these things come, how will we respond? Are we helpless in confronting these challenges? Not at all! Even in the midst of the most difficult trials where our own lives will be at stake, we shall overcome if we know how. In his Psalm, King David said, “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him” (Psalm 32:6). Indeed, only God can save us from rising troubles brought by sin, and the best way to get help is to pray. No amount of effort on our part could save us from the onslaught of the evil one.

The best time to pray is now – while we can still find the Lord. A time will come when we have so entangled our lives in sin that we can no longer find our way to God. We are clearly told in Scriptures: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). Therefore, we who are godly should start praying while we still have that connection to God. But who is a godly man? A godly man is like Moses who was called “a friend of God”. He walked in righteousness and talked to God face to face. A godly man is like King David who knows how to humble himself before God and repent. King David cried out, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2). A godly man is like Job who said “Though he slays me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). A godly man will serve the Lord in good times and bad times. A godly man is like Jesus himself who said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). A godly man is like the apostle Paul who confidently said ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

In teaching his disciples to pray to God, Jesus did not tell them to go beg for his blessings only. Rather, in the prayer he taught them in Luke 11:2-4, Jesus told them to heap praise to God in adoration, that they need to worship him and, full of thanksgiving, submit to his will. He then told them to confess their sins and to forgive those who sinned against them. Finally, he told them to present their petitions to God. This should be the pattern that we follow when we go before God in prayer. It is not right to go to him just to beg. We have to acknowledge that he is our Father and he deserves our praise and worship. It is just like approaching our earthly fathers when we need something from them. We don’t approach them as if they owe us something. Instead, we try to be pleasing before them so that they will grant our request.

The need to pray was emphasized by the Lord Jesus Christ when he was with his disciples at the Garden of Gethsemane. He himself was praying that he could overcome the challenge that was before him. While he told his disciples to do the same, he found them sleeping moments later and thus rebuked them saying, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:40-41). There are many who are burdened with problems that they do not know what to do next. The more they struggle on their own, the more they sink. While they are very much aware of the spiritual implications of their actions, they just could not resist the works of the flesh. Needless to say, they need to call on God in prayer.

We often wonder what God’s will is for us and we go to great length searching for it. In his epistle, the apostle Paul revealed God’s will when he said, “Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:16-18). Praying continually is part of God’s will for us, as it ensures constant communication with him. Some claim that they do not pray because they do not know how. Prayer is simply talking to God. It is not the length of the prayer that matters, but the substance. God is most pleased when we pray from our hearts and not from our head. Therefore, we ought to be praying, always expressing what is in our hearts to him. Let us look for someone to pray with and be our prayer partner. Prayer is one of the best ways to strengthen and encourage one another. As believers, let us respond to the call to pray. Let us not wait for the mighty water to engulf us before we do so. If we pray now, the mighty waters will not reach us. Hallelujah!