I've been blogging about how to pray throughout the day not simply because I sense that Christians today are weak in this area, but because I want to grow in this myself. Going deep in Scripture has always come easier to me than going deep in prayer, but over the years I have come to find that you can't really do one without the other. Authentic prayer will always lead you into Scripture, and Scripture, when believed, will always lead you into prayer. My thoughts on how to pray throughout the day are unoriginal. Some will think of them as cliché, or passé (or some other french word), but I believe they are simply biblical, practical, and tested approaches to prayer.
I'm concluding this short series with a reminder that you cannot live as a Christian without prayer.
Bishop J.C. Ryle wrote that the "habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian." He explained,
All the children of God on earth are alike in this respect. From the moment there is any life and reality about their religion, they pray. Just as the first sign of life in an infant when born into the world is the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again is praying.
This is one of the common marks of all the elect of God, "They cry unto him day and night" (Luke 18:1). The Holy Spirit, who makes them new creatures, works in them the feeling of adoption, and makes them cry, "Abba, Father" (Rom. 8:15). The Lord Jesus, when he quickens them, gives them a voice and a tongue, and says to them, "Be dumb no more." God has no dumb [unable to speak] children. It is as much a part of their new nature to pray, as it is of a child to cry. They see their need of mercy and grace. They feel their emptiness and weakness. They can not do otherwise than they do. They must pray.
Prayer is not only the natural consequence of being born again, it is essential to our ongoing communion with God and is a means of grace. Question 116. of the Heidelberg Catechism asks, "Why is prayer necessary for christians?" The answer is, "Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us: and also, because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those only, who with sincere desires continually ask them of him, and are thankful for them."
Press deep into prayer this next year. Yes, read books on it. Yes, talk about with your friends. But most importantly we must get serious about it, developing methods and rhythms of prayer that will cause it to be the ongoing expression of our dependence on God throughout the day.