As the list of recommended resources given below demonstrates, prayer, or perhaps its lack, is a regular concern for the church throughout her generations. Few of us think we pray often enough. All of us confess that our prayers are too easily distracted and are flawed in a thousand other ways. But prayer is the life of the Christian. We cannot live apart from fellowship with the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And we do not fully experience that fellowship in this life apart from prayer.
Prayer is a discipline. It is a habit. Regular, faithful prayer can be nurtured by attention and discipline. It can be wilted by inattention. As with any good habit, we must labor to develop good disciplines of prayer.
Prayer is often considered and discussed as something done in private. And private prayer is indeed important and valuable. Our Lord taught us to go to our closets to pray. And yet, there is also ample testimony in Scripture to the value and virtue of corporate prayer. When we gather as families and as the Body of Christ in worship we are not a collection of autonomous individuals. We are members of one another corporately and so we need to emphasize developing the disciplines of corporate prayer too.
One of the chief ways of cultivating healthy prayer is by reading the lives of men who prayed well and by emulating their prayers, when they have been recorded for us. The resources below are a rich treasure, full of value and encouragement.
It's time to pray like we mean it.
"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon."
"My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek." (Ps. 27:8)
"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you." (Hos.10:12)
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chr. 7:14)
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." (Col 4:2)
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Phil 4:6)
"One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time."—John Piper