Ephesians 6:18-24 (MSG)
In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. And don't forget to pray for me. Pray that I'll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out. Tychicus, my good friend here, will tell you what I'm doing and how things are going with me. He is certainly a dependable servant of the Master! I've sent him not only to tell you about us but to cheer you on in your faith. Good-bye, friends. Love mixed with faith be yours from God the Father and from the Master, Jesus Christ. Pure grace and nothing but grace be with all who love our Master, Jesus Christ.
Paul, who was in prison when he wrote Ephesians, believed that prayer was going to get him to the finish line. Paul was determined to get the message of Jesus Christ out to the world. Prayer was going to help him do it with courage and determination.
Thank goodness for prayer. It makes a difference as I prepare for Sunday morning and get ready to lead our three worship services. I hope you can sense the difference prayer makes. I would hate for it to be like the seven-year-old boy who asked, "Dad, why do you pray before you preach?" "I ask God to help me." "Then why doesn't he?" asked the young boy.
We've all heard that prayer changes things but sometimes we would just as soon not change. Another young boy was overheard praying, "Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am." Jesus stressed that the church must be a "house of prayer," not a house of worship services, preschools, youth work, or even a house of outreach programs. While all of these are crucial to the church's mission and ministry, the church's attention to these things should not squeeze out the most important, powerful, life-changing, soul-winning thing we can do as a church, PRAY.
The founder of our denomination, John Wesley believed that to accomplish anything, we have to start with prayer. The Apostle Paul knew that when we open ourselves up to God in prayer that we become connected to Him and His Son Jesus Christ. When we pray "hard and long" and for our "brothers and sisters," we perpetuate a hope that will carry us from one day to the next. In some special way, that hope also connects us to all of God's people. Think about it.