Jesus said pagans—not the people of God—“think that they will be heard for their many words” (Mt. 6:7). His command is: “Do not be like them.” We persist in urgent prayer not to impress or wear God down, but because Jesus said don’t lose heart (Lk. 18:1); and to express complete dependence on God: “Whom have I in heaven but You?” (Ps. 73:25). We fast, not to gain a hearing in prayer, but to express humility (Ezra 8:21), to discipline ourselves to focus on, and devote ourselves to the One who gives all good gifts.
Reliance on mediators (praying to a “saint,” for example) is not rational. Scripture repeatedly says the dead cannot pray (Ps. 30:9, 115:17). And let’s be absolutely clear: No saint (dead or alive) offers more effective intercession than Christ and the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26-27, 34). The Bible never says the prayers of many are more effective than prayer offered by a single child of God.
Oh God, whom have I in heaven but You? May my reliance be only upon Your grace and not on people alive or dead. Lord Jesus, You live to intercede for me, and Holy Spirit, You intercede for me in accordance with God’s will. No one else is able to do this on behalf of believers. Teach me to fast and pray in ways that honor You and bring me to a deeper understanding of Your desire for the direction of my life so that I might align my heart with the purposes of Your kingdom.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 31, To Whom Does God Listen? by W. Bingham Hunter). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Give praise to the one by whom all things were created, the one in whom all things hold together, the head of the church (Col. 1:16-18). Thank God for giving direction and purpose to your life in this day. Confess those times in the past few weeks when you’ve tried to take over the direction of your life. Commit yourself completely to Christ’s leadership in this week. Ask him to help you find the time to listen for his voice at the beginning of each day.
Intercede for the leaders in your congregation, that they may find the wisdom and courage to follow Christ’s plan for your church without hesitating.