Devote yourself to prayer and the word

Published 9:59 pm Thursday, October 4, 2018

By Thurman Hayes

In the sixth chapter of Acts, the early church chooses the first deacons, who were to act as special helpers to the apostles, freeing them to devote themselves “to the Word of God and to prayer.”

Of course, in that case the text is speaking about the preaching of the Word of God and prayer. Not every Christian is called to preach. However, every Christian is called to devote themselves to the Word in the sense of reading and studying the Word. And every Christian is called to devote themselves to prayer.

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In Colossians 3:16, the Apostle Paul says to ordinary believers, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” In the very next chapter, he commands us to “continue steadfastly in prayer” (Colossians 4:2).

This is at the foundation of the Christian life. Over the course of many years as a pastor, I have watched with sadness as many lives unraveled. I have seen believers give up hope and give way to sin. Over the past year, I have watched with particular sadness as even many well-known American Christian leaders lost their ministries because of immorality.

We see these Christians “fall” into sin. But here is the issue: Is there a common pattern that we see in their lives before they “fell?” Yes, there is. It is the neglect of the Word of God and prayer.

Friends, staying in God’s Word daily and staying close to God in prayer each day is crucial. Do you think you’re too busy to read your Bible and pray each day? Listen to me: You’re too busy not to!

Why would we not take advantage of the precious privilege of reading God’s Word? Charles Spurgeon says, “You are a welcome guest at the table of the promises. Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven; you may draw from it as much as you please.” (Charles Spurgeon, “Morning and Evening”)

Why would you not take advantage of the precious privilege of prayer? Spurgeon says, “It is the believer’s privilege to have access at all times to his heavenly Father. Whatever our desires, our difficulties, our wants, we are at liberty to spread all before him.” (“Morning and Evening”)

And here is incredibly good news: Our Father delights in hearing from his children and answering their prayers!

Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

Dear Christian friend, I would beg you not to neglect prayer and the Word of God. Your Father wants to refresh you with his Word each day. He longs to hear from you and answer your prayers. Experience this communion with him each and every day.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.