I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a meeting or gathering when the person in charge has turned to me and said, “Preacher, say a prayer for us.” So recently I have been contemplating the difference between “praying” and “saying a prayer.” All of us have times when we say a prayer. Maybe it is before a meal when we thank God for our food and His blessings. Maybe it is in the morning when we begin our day asking God for His protection and blessings on our day. Maybe it is in the evening when we thank God for being with us through the day. It is not unusual for us to include adoration, thanks, and supplication when we say a prayer. Often throughout the day we say a prayer and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. It is good to thank God and to ask for His help. It is a good thing to say a prayer.
However, one of the great temptations we face is to be content with saying a prayer to the neglect of praying. When Jesus was praying on the Mt. of Olives in Luke 22:4, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” He was not saying a prayer. He was praying. My sense is that praying has an urgency and desperation to it. It is not routine and business as usual. It is a cry out to God to act and intervene. Jesus prayed and sweat like drops of blood fell to the ground. While I am sure that most of us say a prayer on a regular and probably daily basis I believe there is a greater need among the followers of Jesus for praying. There is a great need for us to be desperate and earnest in our praying. We need to be earnest in praying for lives to be transformed. We need to be desperate for the glory of God. We need to seek for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We need to call on God for conviction of sin. While it is good for us to say a prayer, it is essential for us to be praying. God still responds to our praying.