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A GODLY PERSON PRAYS
by Philip Owen

 

 
            The fashion of this world changes in the blink of an eye. Many things become unfashionable and obsolete—replaced by better things, or at least by things that are perceived to be better. Not so the things of God. They never become passé.   Where God and His truth are concerned, something old is venerable, not disposable. Godliness is a commodity that is ever relevant, ever essential, and ever blessed of God. Thomas Watson reminded us that an essential characteristic of godliness is prayerfulness. The godly pray.
 
            At first blush, praying might seem to be a characteristic without distinction. After all, at one time or another nearly everyone prays. In fact, many who aren’t even saved, much less godly, pray regularly, frequently, even fervently. But perhaps Watson had one of the shortest verses in the New Testament in mind, when he enumerated this characteristic, namely Paul’s enjoinder to the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17).
 
            I think if we were honest, many of us would have to confess that it is easy to dismiss this verse on two counts. First, upon a casual reading, its brevity and simplicity make it easy for us to dismiss it as being inconsequential. Second, upon a slightly more thoughtful reading, its incredible demand makes it easy to dismiss it as being impossible. But we make a grievous mistake to stray in either of those directions. What the Lord commands, He surely intends for us to obey, and we certainly can obey by His grace.
 
            The praying that distinguishes a godly person involves more than addressing God with words. As already noted, many unbelievers do that kind of praying. No, the prayer that Watson surely had in mind, and more pertinently, the prayer that God invokes, is rooted in fellowship and is unimpaired by unrepented sin. It is neither sporadic nor merely occasional. It is not that a godly person does nothing but pray; it is that he does everything by prayer. Every choice and decision, every action and activity, every wish and hope is baptized in prayer. He may not always be able to consciously talk to the Lord, but his phone is always turned on, his battery is always charged, and he is always wearing his earbud so to speak. He avoids going places where God is not welcome or doing things that God would not do so that he is free to hear God speak to him; and when he speaks to God, God is free to answer him.
 
            A godly person is one who prays: his life is a life of communion and fellowship with God. He confesses, consults, petitions, intercedes, thanks, and praises in conscious and unconscious unbroken harmony with his Heavenly Father. He has a genuine sense that God is his constant holy Companion.
 
            He knows that nothing is too big to expect God to handle and nothing is too small for His consideration. He knows that an omnipotent God can do everything and can not be overloaded with requests. He believes the invitations, exhortations, commands, and pleas from God that he should pray. And he does so. In short, the truths of these verses are his lifeblood: “Continuing instant [“devoted,” “urgent,” “steadfast”] in prayer” (Rom. 12: 12); “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph. 6:18); “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2); “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thess. 5:16-18).

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