"And He said to them, 'When you pray...' " Luke 11:2
Principle: Participation in prayer is a matter of "WHEN" not a matter of "IF."
The words of Jesus are held up for all to see at the entrance to The School of Prayer. They bring to mind the sign that stands beside all the great rides at The State Fair of Texas. "You have to be this tall to ride this ride." It is a basic standard that even a child knows must be met before the thrills begin. It is always a bittersweet experience to watch little children be stopped at the entrance, and measured to see if they are ready for the ride of their lives. They pop their little vertebrae to stretch as tall as they can, and hope they meet the standard. Their eyes gleam with anticipation, but all hell breaks loose if they are turned away. There is a great similarity to the standard Jesus holds for all who would enter His Kingdom. Prayer is meant to be an entrance standard that prayer warriors embrace with anticipation, not shrink from in intimidation.
Jesus expected His disciples to have an active not a passive participation in prayer. He did not consider prayer to be an option or a conditional part of the life of the believer. He held prayer to be one of the basic expressions of righteousness. He never withdrew God's blessing from what Jewish culture saw as vital signs of righteousness: praying, giving, and fasting.
Jesus knew His disciples could no more thrive in His Kingdom without praying than they could survive on earth without breathing. By the use of the word "when" not "if," Jesus assumed it would be done. He did not tell His disciples to pray if they felt like it, or if it was convenient, or if they were in the right mood.
Jesus did not rate prayer as the highest achievement of the dedicated few or religious elite. It was presented as a basic requirement in the core curriculum of The School of Prayer. It was not a graduate course. It was expected to be a vital part of the daily schedule of every incoming freshman.
The Practice of Prayer: When will you pray? The answer to this one small question must not go begging. When you pray, your life will be opened to a whole new level of power. You will never know it, until you pray. Fail to pray, and you will plan to fail. When is it going to begin?
The Thought for the Day: Jesus intends for his people to pray. It is a matter of "when" and not "if."
"There is no power like that of prevailing prayer; it turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings life. It brings God." Samuel Chadwick