One of the most important foundations in your life as a man of God is prayer. The word prayer means “to ask.” Not only should you praise God, but you should constantly bombard Heaven with requests for people and needs in the ministry.
Ability, wisdom, and insight into the Scriptures are sometimes only a result of prayer. E. M. Bounds said, “To be little with God is to be little for God.”
R. A. Torrey said, “I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” Truly, these prayer warriors put top priority on their walk with God. After all, man was created primarily to fellowship and walk with God. Study the gospels and see how many times Jesus went into a mountain or solitary place to pray. You will find that it was His lifestyle to pray. If Jesus, being the Son of God, needed to pray, then how much more do we?
The Word of God and prayer ought to be your priorities as a preacher. Much time must be made for prayer. If you are not careful, counseling, study, sermon preparation, and other necessities quickly dwindle away precious time. When a preacher is praying right, other activities will take care of themselves. Do not let anything steal your prayer time.
A man who wants to learn to pray should study the lives of Bible characters who knew how to pray. For instance, Enoch walked so close to God that God took him to Heaven before he died. Moses fell on his face in prayer every time the children of Israel sinned. Prayer caused the words of Samuel to never fall void to the ground. He was a man of prayer. The sixty-four word prayer of Elijah caused fire to fall from Heaven. David’s prayer life made him a man after God’s own heart. Jeremiah learned to pray for great and mighty things from God. Daniel prayed and fasted for three weeks to get an answer to just one prayer. It was upon his knees that Jacob became a prince with God.
Great men in recent days have also learned to pray. Edward Payson wore grooves in the wooden floor by his bed where he stayed so long and so often in prayer. John “Praying” Hyde was known as the man who never slept because he so often was in prayer while others slept. Hyde was asked to pray for J. Wilbur Chapman’s revival meetings, and the meetings’ successes were attributed to Hyde’s prayers.
D. L. Moody said, “Prayer is the key in the morning and the bolt in the evening.” Another preacher said, “A man that kneels before God will stand before men.”
The great pianist, Rubenstein, was once asked about his piano practicing. He replied, “If I miss practice one day, I know it. If I miss practice two days, my friends know it. If I miss practice three days, the world knows it.” The same applies to a preacher and prayer. Do not miss your prayer time. How can you lead others to a closer walk with God if you do not intimately know Him as you should?
As a preacher you must have a daily time for your appointment with God. If not, it will soon show in your powerless preaching. Dr. John Rice said, “Prayerlessness is the grandfather of all sin.” Make sure that you visit your prayer closet often. Notice the words to the poem, The Secret:
I met God in the morning,
When my day was at its best
And His presence came like sunrise,
Like a glory in my breast.
All day long the Presence lingered;
All day long He stayed with me;
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O’er a very troubled sea.
Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest.
Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind.
When I too had loosed the moorings
With the Presence left behind.
So, I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way;
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day.