"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." -Luke 11:9, NIV
Do you pray?
Here are 5 of Ryle's reasons for why prayer is such a crucial habit for you to establish:
1. A habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian. The greatest heroes and heroines of the Bible often shared a similar attribute--they were men and women of prayer. To take your frustrations, challenges, joys, hopes and dreams to God on a regular basis requires a great deal of faith. You are essentially relinquishing control and telling God, "I trust you will work on my behalf in this situation." Do you have this kind of faith? Do you pray?
2. A habit of prayer brings great encouragement to the one who prays. In the Bible, we see that prayer moved God to raise the dead, heal the sick, save souls, draw water from a rock and send bread from heaven. Prayer even made the sun stand still! The fact that prayer moves God to action should be a great encouragement to us. Are you encouraged by God's provision and power? Do you pray?
3. A habit of prayer creates holy men and women. The more we seek God out in prayer, the more our hearts are aligned with what God desires for us and we become holier men and women in the process. Are you growing closer to God? Do you pray?
4. If we do not pray, we run the risk of backsliding in our faith. To be clear, Ryle doesn't mean we should fear losing our salvation. However, without prayer you run the risk of becoming stagnant in your faith, of falling back into sinful habits and temptations that you had once overcome through prayer. Relationships turn sour, often because of poor communication. So too with us and God. Do you feel stagnant in your faith or distant from God? Do you pray?
Ryle says, "In every journey there must be a first step." If you desire to become a more prayerful person, take time today and go somewhere quiet, shut the door and pray aloud that God would give you the grace and strength you need to develop a habit of prayer. Then be encouraged. God greatly desires you to be in regular prayer with him.