|Methodist church, Monroe|
- Henri Nouwen (The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life, 32)
Nouwen makes an analogy which is, I think, appropriate. Because Jesus had a spiritual life, right? And Jesus prayed. If Jesus prayed, how can we who claim to follow after him be "too busy to pray?"
Prayer is, biblically, at the center of a spiritual life. A prayerless person has little or no Jesus-kind-of spiritual life. I don't think pointing this out has the effect of motivating people to actually pray. It may make a few people guilty, but guilt is not a great motivator.
Still, the standard must be lifted up in our watered-down, relativistic religious world. If I stood in front of my church and said, "I don't have time to meet with God in prayer, but I've got some cool things to share with you today," they should relieve me of my prayerless insights. Prayerlessness is the bitter fruit of unbelief.
Positively, to have a prayer life is to have a spiritual life. This is good news for all who actually pray. They see prayer as essential to the Jesus Movement. In their praying they are part of the Movement. To pray is to engage in The Mission. In prayer we get, among other things, our marching orders. A praying person becomes an instrument or weapon of righteousness in the hand of Almighty God.
The Christian who gets converted to a Jesus-follower discovers life with Christ as an adventure. God actually communicates with them, and where prayer focuses, power falls. Such praying begets even more praying. The inner fire is lit. This is when things begin to happen spiritually.