Survey: Do you leave the faucet running the entire time you brush your teeth?
Sometimes I catch myself being just plain wasteful. Just the other morning, I stared thoughtlessly into the mirror while brushing away, unaware of the gushing water just below my line of vision. Somehow it caught my attention just before time to rinse, and I really took notice of just how much water was washing down the drain. I didn’t even have it turned down to a stream; it was pounding the surface at full force. At least a good two minutes passed before I even realized, and I thought to myself with regret, “What a tragedy to have wasted so much water, when so many people in developing countries are without.”
Overall, I think Americans in general take this precious commodity for granted; particularly younger generations. They tend to have the impression that water simply comes from faucets. But did you know that right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water? That’s one in eight of us! Check this out!
On average, women in Africa and Asia have to walk 3.7 miles to collect water. (Aside from putting a great deal of strain on their bodies, walking such long distances keeps children out of school and women away from other endeavors that can help improve the quality of life in their communities.)
A typical individual in the United States uses 500 litres of water each day, more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. (BTW, the recommended daily water requirement for sanitation, bathing, cooking and consumption is approximately 50 litres per person per day)
Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war
Recognizing the true privilege we as Americans have to enjoy seemingly limitless clean water really puts things into perspective! Water is not the only resource in which we indulge and take for granted. Did you know that 35.5 million people in the US—including 12.6 million children—live in households that experience hunger or the risk of hunger? This represents more than one in ten households in the United States (10.9 percent).
So why are we wasteful and negligent in so many areas of our lives? Is it because we have become so COMFORTABLE with our gadgets and toys, and our “have it your way, right now” societal attitude? Perhaps the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind” applies here?
In much the same way, I believe Christians take one of the greatest and sweetest gifts that God has provided us for granted…fellowship with him through prayer. It has been said that, “No Christian is greater than his prayer life” (Leonard Ravenhill, 1959). Yet, we as Christians seldom capitalize on this powerful resource and fellowship with God. Surveys show that the average Christian prays 15 to 30 minutes per week. Wow. To say we take this gift of fellowship and power way too lightly would be a gross understatement!
Paul understood the blessings and power of prayer. Here are just a few examples
• In prayer, we learn to depend solely on God’s word (Acts 9:1-18) -Paul’s life as a follower of Christ began with prayer and complete dependence on God. After Christ revealed himself to him, Paul was struck blind. He obediently went into Damascus, where he continued without sight for 3 days as he prayed and waited for God. God told Ananias: “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”)
• In prayer, we seek God’s leading and hedge of protection Prayer preceded many significant events/journeys in Paul’s life: Acts 13:1-3” While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’. So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” – 16:25-26-“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. “
• In prayer, we petition on behalf of others, and ask God to work through them. Many of Paul’s letters began with mention of prayers for the believers to whom he was writing: Romans 1:10- “God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. “
Ephesians1:16-18-“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (*See also Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:3-11; Colossians 1:3, 9-10; 2 Thes 1:11-12, 2 Tim. 1:3).
• In prayer, we grasp how much we need the intercession of other believers. Paul openly asked for the prayers of others: 2 Cor. 1:8-11 “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
James 5:16-“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
(*See also Romans 15:30-31; Ephes. 6:19-20; Col 4:3; 1 Thes. 5:25; 2 Thes. 3:1-2)
• In prayer, we allow the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, even when we do not know what to pray. (Romans 8:26-“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
And if you are still not convinced in the power and necessity of prayer in a believer’s life, check out these verses of scripture:
“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: ‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’ ” –Luke 18:1-8
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”-Ephesians 1:19-20
I earnestly pray that each of us will make it a priority to fellowship through prayer with God on a daily, if not, hourly basis! Remember, quiet time alone in your “prayer closet” is important; but not necessary for God to hear and commune with you. Pray while driving, in between appointments, anytime you can find just a few moments alone. There is nothing on this Earth like fellowshipping in the presence of God!
Let us not look back over our lives with regret and say, “What a tragedy to have wasted so many opportunities for prayer and fellowship, and walk through daily life and trials without the presence of God.”
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”-Hebrews 4:16
Have a blessed day!