Many virtues have been pointed to as being the pinnacle of Christian living. I would agree that all of them are essential. Whether it to be the bringing of men to Christ in soul winning, church attendance or holy living all are essential in our being transformed into the image of God’s dear Son. How often, though, do we exalt prayer to its scriptural position?
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus in Acts chapter nine. Though we do not see in our own experience of salvation a correlation with Paul’s experience, we see many similar things taking place. We are all saved the same way. Paul in preaching to others did not say, “You must be smitten by the shekinah glory of God and hear the audible voice of God. You must be smitten with blindness and obey His next command.” In speaking to the Philippians jailor in Acts sixteen and verse thirty-one Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” All are saved by faith in Christ.
Saul was then justified by faith in the sight of God (Romans 5:1). There at that very moment a transaction took place to impute the righteousness of Jesus Christ on Saul’s account. That much God did see. However, the early church was fearful of this supposed new “scheme” Saul set out on to uproot the “new way” that preached a crucified and resurrected Christ.
What then would become the outward symbol to the early church that Saul had truly come face-to-face with Jesus Christ and had been forgiven? The Bible says in Acts chapter nine and verses ten through twelve, And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Was he preaching? Was he soul winning? Was he singing? Clearly the Scriptures teach us that he was praying.
Prayer teaches us that God is not in the business of giving supernatural greatness to only a select few but is willing to pour out His blessing on any man, woman or child who will humble themselves and pray with fervency for God’s blessing.
James chapter five verses sixteen through eighteen says, The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias (Elijah) was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
What is most natural about a Christian is a desire to speak with God by means of prayer. Personally, how are you in the secret place of prayer? Do you speak with the Lord? Do you commune with him?
If prayer is the most natural Christian behavior would there be enough evidence in our lives to convict us of being a Christian?