Active Prayer, Personal Ministry
One day, after a short absence from Jesus, the disciples found Him praying. Being totally absorbed in His communion with the Father, Jesus was unaware of their presence. He continued to pray aloud. Listening to His prayer, the hearts of the disciples were deeply moved.
As Jesus finished praying, they asked Him to teach them to pray. Jesus then gave His disciples what we call the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a beautiful model of prayer He first taught them during the Sermon on the Mount.
Then Jesus illustrated the lesson on prayer with a profound story.
"Which of you shall have a friend and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?’”
Pausing, we observe several important lessons recorded here in Luke 18. First, we pray when we have a reason to pray. Christian believers pray an average of only a few minutes a day. Seventh-day Adventist believers are no different. It is true that those who see the need of prayer will engage in prayer. The need presents itself in two areas:
Our own personal need: When Jesus presented the model prayer or the Lord’s Prayer, He presents mainly the personal needs of the petitioner. We will pray consistently and with passion, only if we see our personal need of forgiveness, deliverance from evil and spiritual food. Those who do not sense their need to be justified or sanctified will not pray. If we do not see the stark contrast between our personal life and the perfection and purity of Jesus, we will not sense the need of prayer. Without consistent and passionate prayer, there will not be consistent growth in the personal life, nor growth in character development.
The need of others: Another reason to pray consistently and with passion is to be actively involved in ministry for others. Actively seeking to minister to others needs, especially their need for salvation in Christ, provides us with many opportunities for prayer. Realizing our awesome responsibility to present the bread of heaven to others because of their great need and hunger for authentic spiritual life drives us to the only source of authentic spiritual bread. Our God is the only source of fresh spiritual food. Remove ministry from a person’s life, and there will be little reason to pray.
The General Conference is encouraging total member involvement (TMI) in ministry to others. The North Pacific Union Conference has adopted this initiative as one of our four strategic priorities. One way to kick start your prayer life is to get actively involved in ministry to others for Christ. If you are not sure how, ask your pastor. There are so many needs in our communities and local churches that go unmet year after year.
You can make a difference with your life united with the life and power of Jesus Christ. Engaged in ministry to others, we have the assistance of angels and the assurance that all the resources of heaven are available to help us.