The prayer life of the apostle Paul is most evident in the epistles he wrote while in prison. Some people assume that confinement in prison gave Paul little choice but to pray. They would imagine Paul saying something like, “Oh well, since I have nothing else to do, I guess I’ll pray.” Not true!
Busyness is often used as a favorite excuse not to pray. But in reality, it’s not our schedule that keeps us from praying. It’s our failure to understand the importance of prayer. When we don’t pray, it’s because we don’t believe it’s all that necessary. Instead of utilizing the power of prayer to make an impact, we try to have an influence through physical activity. We roll up our sleeves and get busy, turning to our own power instead of God’s power.
A commitment to prayer and some muscle are needed among Christians today. In fact, Paul himself would wholeheartedly agree. He definitely spent a lot of time “in the trenches” confronting sorcery, angry mobs, and hostile religious leaders. But that didn’t divert his thinking about the need for prayer. Martin Luther, the great church reformer, captured the essence of Paul’s prayer philosophy with this paraphrased quote: “My schedule is so busy today that I need to spend more time than usual in prayer.”
Paul’s—and Martin Luther’s—message to us is, “Don’t let a busy life keep you from prayer. You need it!” And, like the people Paul prayed for, others need your prayers as well. And who knows? Maybe the reason your own life is so busy and often out of control is because you haven’t taken time to stop and pray to discern God’s priorities in your life.