I love the story of the two women sitting together mending their husbands’ pants. One woman said, “My husband is so discouraged with the work of the church.” The other woman said, “Why, my husband was saying just the other day how encouraged he was about the work.” Silence again fell over the room as they continued mending the pants. One was mending the knees, while the other mended the seat.
Obviously, the pants that needed mending in the knees indicated that their owner was a praying person, and particularly one who prayed regularly for the work of the church. The pants that needed mending in the seat indicated that their owner was inactive in the work of the church and was not praying for the work. Which pair of pants is most indicative of our lives? We sometimes sing a song that should lead us to more frequent and devoted prayer: “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!” Prayer will keep us encouraged.
Consider the words of the apostle Paul, showing us the importance of regular, sincere prayer:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-6).
Here are some practical suggestions concerning prayer: (1) Plan for prayer. Make it a habit to pray at regular intervals or in particular places (Daniel 6). (2) Make prayer personal and specific, not mindless repetition (see 2 Thessalonians 3:1). For example, have a mental or written list of people or causes that should be the subject of prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-6). (3) In addition to longer prayers, pray quick prayers throughout the day concerning the various issues that arise (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). (4) Pray often for the church and for her leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:25; Hebrews 13:18). (5) Expect great results from prayer (James 5:16b-18).
Our lives will be more fulfilling, the church will be stronger, the lost will be saved, and problems will be solved, in large measure, based upon how we pray (Matthew 7:7-11).