Last week I wrote about how a Christian’s approach to productivity should be radically different from the world’s. Indeed, our productivity should be distinctly Christian. And when I think about things that are available to the Christian that would enable us to more efficiently fulfill our purpose, prayer is the first which jumps to mind. One distinctly Christian productivity method is prayer.
Prayer is a vital component to a thriving Christian life. It is a means of our sanctification, fellowship with God, expression of love for our fellow believers, an opportunity for worship, and a conduit for God’s blessings.
But if that’s not enough to get you to pray more, allow me to propose one more benefit of prayer. Christian prayer offers a profound advantage in the fight to accomplish all that a pastor must do in a week.
Here are three truths about prayer that should encourage you to pray more as a pastor.Prayer is Supremely Necessary
In sermon prep, do you ever get 15-20 minutes into studying a passage and realize you forgot to pray?
Sir, are you insane?
But it happens. Doesn’t it?
And how many days do we forget to draw near to the Lord in the morning, or ask for His wisdom before a discipleship appointment, or request discernment as we read the daily news? How foolish of us.
For pastors—and for any Christian—prayer is not just a nice-to-have, it is a necessity.
Ministry is a spiritual task that is not possible apart from God’s aid. So, we must pray for that help. Prayer is supremely necessary for productivity because God uses it to give us power, motivation, wisdom, and focus, for the many tasks we undertake.[yikes-mailchimp form=”1″]But prayer is also supremely necessary for the sake of God’s glory. Because if we see seemingly great things done through our ministries—a knockout sermon, a thriving church, or an edifying men’s breakfast—if we accomplish those things apart from deliberate reliance on Christ’s power, those accomplishments are hollow. Why? Because when we do things in our own strength they serve only to glorify us (our ability, our knowledge, our charisma) and not God. But when we are plainly and even publically reliant upon God in prayer, He alone gets the glory.
Prayer is Supernaturally Beneficial
The last several years have seen the rise in popularity on what has been called “mindfulness.” It’s basically a secular alternative to prayer where you just sit and think about your feet and stuff. Maybe it calms you down and makes you more present in the moment or something, but it has no external force behind it. It has no supernatural power (at least not a good supernatural power). But prayer does.
Do you ever stop and think about it?
We have the ability to call on the aid of the Almighty sustainer of the universe. I’d say that beats even the most mindful meditation sesh you could dream up, yogi. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16).
We may share the benefits of Pomodoros and mindmaps with unbelievers, but in prayer, we have something they do not have. We have distinctly Christian productivity which is supernaturally beneficial.
Prayer is a Superior Use of Time
Though we would never say it out loud, we often feel that we are too busy to pray. But the truth is that we are too busy not to pray.
You think, I’ve got this many appointments, I need to take the car in, and on top of all that I need to finish this sermon before Sunday. But Michael Fabarez points out in his book Preaching That Changes Lives, “The urgency of sermon deadlines should not lure us away from our time of prayer, but rather to it.”
Consider again what prayer is, you are calling upon the Maker. So, the next time you catch yourself going down this path mentally, “I need to skip prayer this morning because I need to get in early so I can start preparing for that meeting and I have a dentist appointment that’s going to throw the whole day off. . .” Slow down, Rev!
You’ve got a packed schedule, but the answer is not to skip time with the Lord. Reschedule the dentist appointment or just face the consequences of not being prepared for that meeting.
And guess what.
God may enable you to accomplish all of those tasks in a shorter period of time that it normally takes you to do them as a result of you being faithful to put time with Him ahead of other matters. Oh yeah, because He literally invented time (imagine a cool hourglass .gif here with like stars and galaxies behind it).
Just be faithful to fence off time for prayer and trust that you will be able to get done just what God has for you to do today.
Pastor, God has given you such a boon for your productivity in the gift of prayer. Do not neglect this distinctly Christian form of productivity for the sake of mere earthly tricks and tips, because prayer is supremely necessary, supernaturally beneficial, and a superior use of time.
“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer”