Strugglers & Stragglers

Strugglers & Stragglers

Men, join us for fellowship over breakfast followed by a time of teaching this Saturday at 8am. The topic will be: How to Pray? (Officers will meet for prayer at 7am.)

Many sincere saints will admit that when it comes to prayer, they are strugglers. They struggle to pray hard, long, well, or pray at all. Many will also admit that when it comes to Scripture intake, they are stragglers; straggling behind in their daily meditative reading and soaking in of God’s word. As a result, they carry a low-grade guilt that becomes an undercurrent to everyday living, hamstringing them in their God-given callings.

To make matters worse, not only does our flesh rejects dependence on such ordinary graces, but Satan detests it and the world conspires against it. Obviously, I am speaking of those who consider daily word and prayer vital to their souls just as food and exercise are to our bodies. For without the food of the Word we become spiritually lean and lacking the exercise of prayer our spirit atrophies. Spiritual malnourishment runs like an epidemic in the church of God today.

Is there hope? Thanks be to God for in Jesus Christ there is always hope! Not until long ago, I was not even a struggler or a straggler. I prayed when I felt like and read the Bible when I had the time. I drifted and I was easily swayed. I was more like the “chaff that the wind drives away” than “the tree planted by streams of water” of Psalm 1. But the gracious hand of the Lord was (and is) upon me. He persevered with me; he still does.

I am yet far from where the Lord wants me to be. But he is leading me by his hand. I have pointed out before that the Lord’s Prayer came in response to another prayer: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). I have begun to pray this often. This shows us that prayer is learnt; we need to be taught to pray. Indeed, prayer is hard. And embracing this reality has been surprisingly freeing for me. (This insight from Tim Keller.)

This made me a willing struggler and straggler. I confess the guilt of prayerlessness in prayer. I ask the Lord to fight Satan, the world and even my own flesh. I thank the Lord for persevering with me – a sinner, no!, a saint in Christ. When we are willing to struggle in prayer—it becomes the wrestlings of Jacob. When we are willing to straggle in the word—it becomes the following after Jesus of his disciples. And suddenly, word and prayer begin to feed each other!

In men’s ministry tomorrow, we will discuss some specifics on how to pray. Men, join us!