Romans 1:8-10 – First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.
Growing up, my dad and brother were (and still are) car guys. They have a particular affection for older Chevrolet cars that go fast and sound loud. When working on old cars at our house, the key to firing one up for the first time was pouring some gas into the carburetor so that it was primed and could fire off and ignite the entire motor to start running smoothly. For the Christian, prayer is how we prime our relationship with God and others.
The reason Paul begins his lengthy letter to people he is hoping to visit but has not yet met is because the shortest distance between two people is prayer. The easiest way to build a relationship with someone is to pray for them.
Prayer can be done in a variety of ways. Artists create visual prayer requests to God, including our oldest daughter who watercolors the scenes in her Bible. Prayer can be written down in a journal. Prayer can be silent as God knows your thoughts. Prayer can be spoken as God hears your words. And, prayer can be sung as God’s people singing together are in a way praying together with one voice unto the Lord.
Not only can prayer be done in a variety of ways, it can also occur at a variety of times. When Paul says that he prays “without ceasing”, the example he sets is a life of conversational prayer. Unlike a business that is only open for certain hours, or a customer service call where we are stuck on hold, Heaven is always open to hear and answer prayers. For this reason, no matter where we are or what time it is, we can talk to our Father who loves us and hears us.
If you are unsure how to increase your prayer life, the key Paul models for us to start with and what we tell our kids are thankful prayers. Before we bring our pains and problems, needs and nags to God, we should start with our blessings and benefits. Once we get into the habit of seeing God’s presence and provision in our life, and routinely stop to say thanks throughout the day, the more we cultivate an attitude of gratitude for what God has done, and faith for what He will do next.
What can you pray to God thanking Him for right now?
To find the free Romans study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the realfaith app.