Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tyre?
It was Corrie Ten Boom who asked the question
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tyre?”
This question is loaded with meaning about the importance of prayer. Prayer is something we are urged to do continually as Paul says:
"Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit." 1 Thes. 5:17–19.
We can pray any time of the day or night, whether we’re walking, kneeling, or washing the dishes. It is not something we lock away in the boot and only fetch out when we have a puncture. Prayer is communing with God and seeking him at every turn of our lives. It’s asking for him to direct us, go with us, protect, and provide for us, often in very specific ways. We should never be so busy that we have no time to pray. The busier we are the more important it is that we do pray. This was the emphasis of Bill Hybel’s wonderful little book on prayer which was expressed in the title: Too busy not to pray
Oswald Chambers clearly believed prayer was the steering wheel of our lives:
“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be ourfirst line of defence. We pray when there's nothing else we can do,
but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all."
The prophet Joel tells us that God sent an army of locusts to devour the crops of his people when they went away from him. But he calls them to return to him with all their hearts. If they do this, he will take pity on them and bless them with grain, new wine, and olive oil (Joel 2: 19). He promises to repay them for the years that the locusts have eaten. Then follows that great promise, which began at Pentecost, that he would pour out his Spirit and rescue any who call on the name of the Lord. We only need to call out, pray and he will feed us, give us new wine, and anoint us afresh with the Holy Spirit.
Before beginning a service remember to pray. Before starting a PCC meeting build in a time of prayer. Join a house group or fellowship group and pray for one another. Remember to pray with any who need it during or after a service in our buildings. Let prayer become part of the air that we breathe. Let it shape the direction of our agendas and saturate the unfolding of our plans and those of our Deanery. Pray for the people of the wider parish and ask God to give you his heart for them; because he wants them to know his love and power in their lives. He wants them to ask and receive the Holy Spirit. Let’s purposely decide to make prayer the steering wheel rather than treat it as a spare tyre.