By Ps Ho Wei Liang
The entire Bible is replete with prayer. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, “men began to call on the name of the LORD” (Gen. 4:26b), and right in its last verse, the earnest supplication meets our ears—“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen” (Rev. 22:21). And there are countless instances in between of the prayers of men and women, royalty and servants, the upright and the deceitful.
What does this teach us, if not that prayer is of sacred importance and necessary for everyone? We can be certain that whatever God has made prominent in His Word, He intended to be conspicuous in our lives. Our Maker has said much about prayer because He knows we have much need of it.
However, too often have we ignored prayer, and sought to accomplish on our own will and strength the things we desire. We deem prayer to be time spent unproductively because we think we are able; we keep it at hand—yet only as a last resort—just in case we are unable. For those of us who are too often guilty of this, we need to confess and repent. In this time-starved culture of ours, where so many tasks need to be done, let us learn from the counter-intuitive yet resoundingly true words of the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
Prayer is coming into the presence of the omniscient and omnipotent God. It is the place where pride is abandoned and humility adopted; the place of admitting our limits and failures, our needs and dependence. It is also the place where we remember and acknowledge our creatureliness; the place where we re-establish right relationship with God.
The writer of the book of Hebrews exhorts us to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16). We surely have great and pressing needs today: the world’s needs, our nation’s needs, our society’s needs, our church’s needs, our Christian brothers’ and sisters’ needs, our family’s needs, our personal needs… Do we really think we need nothing? Let us realise our poverty. Stop what you are doing, so that we may ask of God.