“Satan dreads nothing but prayer. His one concern is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, he mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”Samuel Chadwick
The devil sure is sneaky. Sometimes he does the most damage not by the things he tempts us into but by the things he lures away from, like prayer. If he cannot succeed in talking you into something drastic, like abandoning your faith or taking a bite of an adulterous relationship, he just switches up strategies. If he can’t persuade you with the obvious, he’ll try the not-so-obvious and see where it goes.
In fact, maybe the adversary’s best ploy is that of seemingly harmless distractions. He’s a pro at getting us sidetracked. He’ll float all kinds of stuff in our direction to see if we’ll go for it. The subtle part is that these things are often good and honorable.
Yet, if we’re not careful these things can become nothing more than righteous distractions. They preoccupy us to the point that we’re convinced we don’t have time to set them aside for a minute and give our undivided attention to the Lord. The story of sisters Mary and Martha illustrates this point beautifully.
But Martha was distracted with much serving…the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary [sitting at Jesus’ feet] has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”Luke 10:40-42
I wonder, are we in such a frenzy that we’ve forgotten to pray? Are we so taken with current hot-button issues that we are defaulting on our privilege to approach the God of Heaven? Are we too immersed in our newsfeeds and social media threads to engage in meaningful communion with Jesus?
Yet, how could we possibly succeed at bringing about needed change in our society without God’s help?
Some would counter by saying this is a time for action and as polite and nice as prayer may be, prayer isn’t really action. To that, I offer this charge from the apostle Paul, an activist to the core:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.Paul, I Timothy 2:1-2
Paul puts prayer at the very top of the list of action steps. To be clear, prayer is where true change begins. Prayer is the proton of transformation, be it the transformation of an individual, a relationship, or a society. With all due respect, prayer is activism.
Prayer is the proton of transformation, be it the transformation of an individual, a relationship, or a society.
So, may the Lord help us today to withdraw from the hysteria of the world, if but for a moment, and implore Him to do for us and in us what only He can do.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.