Be constant in prayer.
There is a second part to prayer that must not be neglected. Though we may be beset with weakness our consciences troubled by our continual sin, our fear of God’s approval, and our prayers often a fumbling mess that only the Spirit of God may truly unravel, these are not the whole of our troubles in prayer life.
The other, and what I may suggest is most primary, is our mere discipline of prayer. As much as we would like to pass our troubles in prayer off onto our weaknesses and insufficiencies, the Lord is not so foolish to allow us to think that we are not the primary reason to blame for our often paltry prayer lives.
Most of the time, our lack of confident and hopeful prayer simply comes down to our sheer willful neglect of it and our choosing to rather do something else with our time. Sometimes, even those other things are good things that we do instead of pray. But let’s not overlook ourselves – much of those things that we distract ourselves with are unnecessary and even useless.
I wish that much of my struggles in prayer came down to the weakness of my heart, but the Lord does not let me find solace there. As the hymn says, “prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love,” often this is the case – we give over to our proneness. It is primarily our own choosing that our prayer lives remain the way that they are.
Satan wishes nothing more than to keep Christians from prayer. If he can defeat us on this front, then surely we have lost. If we fail to ask our general for directions and support, it is beyond certainty that we will soon fail greatly. We cannot be shocked when this happens, especially when we actually fail. When a saint prays, Satan can do nothing but plead to God against our prayers, and do we need to question who will prevail with God, the Devil or his child?
Our greatest mode of obtaining help we most often neglect. Notice that the verse does not say, “Be frequent in prayer,” but “Be constant in prayer.” Prayer is something we must give ourselves to whether we feel like it or not. If we come to God only when we are at the extremes of our emotional states, we shall only come ever so often. But the Lord calls us to come constantly.
If we learn and bring ourselves to God in all places at all times, fruit will come and fruit will grow. But if we only come sparingly, the we should only expect a sparing crop, as Christ himself says, “He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly.”
Coming to the Lord “in season and out of season” and resting in the truth that the Spirit intercedes for us shall lay a healthy and stong foundation for a truly powerful prayer life. Go to him then, in spite of the adversion and distractions of your feelings, and lead them to God, for “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” But first you must seek.