A few years after I graduated from college, my father and I attended a non-denominational prayer retreat. The prayer retreat had very little talking about prayer and a whole lot of actual praying.
Over the course of the weekend, I felt overwhelmed being in the presence of some major prayer warriors. These saints of God knew how to enter God's presence, to intercede, and to engage in spiritual warfare. It was amazing. Just to hear these prayers and the passion and fervency in them.
I kept thinking over and over, I want to pray like that. I still aspire to that.
I miss hearing the prayers of those kinds of saints. They aren't satisfied with the quickie prayers on the way out the door or during email message readings as being their sole source of prayer life. They're the ones you want on your side when you need a mountain moved, who will tell you they'll pray for you—and then actually spend some serious time really praying for you.
If you want to pray like that, you have to train for it. You have to discipline yourself. It's just like I can never expect to win an Olympic medal in the marathon category if the only running I ever do is from my house to my car when it's raining.
It's still running, but it doesn't have the power, the endurance that real, serious, disciplined running has.
It's the same with prayer. Do the short snippets of prayer count? Absolutely. But if we really want to get serious in our prayer life, then we have to get down to business in our practicing.
In this issue, we look at the spiritual discipline of prayer. I think we have some unique angles to it. I hope this issue not only blesses you, but motivates you to actually start praying. Seriously praying. Our lives, our families, our churches, our nation, our world depends on our prayers.1