An excerpt from “Why We Pray" by William Philip
In Acts 9, when we read of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the Lord tells Ananias where to find Saul and says, “Behold, he is praying” (v. 11). Why is that so significant? Saul of Tarsus had said his prayers all the days of his life as a pious Pharisee. But for all his prayers, he had never really prayed before, because as yet he had never truly answered God’s call. But when he met God personally, in Jesus Christ the risen Lord, he truly prayed. He communicated with God.
You can’t respond until God has called out to you to respond. You can’t say, “I do,” until somebody has asked, “Will you marry me?” But in Jesus, God has broken that heavenly silence. He has called out. He has said, “I do want you back. Will you have me?” And he wants you to say yes. Saying yes to that call of Jesus is the essence, and the beginning, of all real prayer.
So let me ask you this: Are you a praying person?
I’m not asking whether you say your prayers—anybody can fool himself into thinking he’s praying because he’s saying his prayers. But are you a praying person? Are you responding from the very bottom of your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, to God’s call to you in the gospel of Christ? Are you answering audibly and visibly the God who has called out to you in Jesus his Son? Are you doing that?
If you are doing that, you are praying.
But until you do that, well, you can say all the prayers you like, but you have never really prayed at all. Because praying is answering that wonderful call of God.
It’s never too late to start really praying, and you can pray, because God is a speaking God. He has called out to us, wonderfully, in the message of his Son, the Lord Jesus. He wants us to be answering people.
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