“…men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
— Luke 18:1
Hierocles, a fifth century philosopher of Alexandria, compiled a book of humorous stories, which were meant to teach a lesson. One of these was about a man who made a ridiculous vow that he would never go into the water until he had first learned to swim! Of course, he never got anywhere!
It is equally foolish to postpone praying until we have mastered the art of eloquence and beauty in public speech. We can learn to swim only by getting into the water and making an attempt; so too, we can learn to pray publicly only if we make it a point to begin, even if, at first, our words are stumbling and awkward.
Prayer, after all, is talking to God and communing with Heaven. This is much more important than “saying something beautiful for other people to hear.” While all of us can pray silently, it must be said that public prayer—like public confession of our faith is absolutely necessary to our growth and effectiveness.
Luke 18:1, however, is not speaking so much of audible, formal prayer, but rather of that inward attitude of devotion and seeking which ever looks expectantly toward God.
My concordance shows the root meaning of the word “to faint” is to “cave it.” What causes a cave-in? It is weakness on the one hand and pressure on the other. What causes a “cave-in” in our prayer life? Is it not our weakness and the pressures of things of secondary importance, influences of the world, or attacks from the powers of darkness?
Are we persistent and consistent in our prayer lives? Are we praying at all seasons; whether we feel like it or not? God has to constantly remind me that the Scripture exhorts me to pray:
1. Always (Luke 18:1, Ephesians 6:18)
2. Everywhere (1 Timothy 2:8)
3. For all men (1 Timothy 2:1)
4. For everything (Philippians 4:6)
When the going gets rough don’t lose heart and “cave in”; just pray, trust, and move forward!