When this post publishes, I will be on the beach with my family for our annual week long beach party vacation.  We enjoy many things while on vacation such as food, swimming, waves, sand castle building, kayaking, and a host of other activities.  However, one thing that I’ve found time to do on vacation while sitting on the beach and enjoying the sun, sand, and surf is to focus on prayer.

Several years ago, while walking on the beach, I discovered a mailbox on a remote section of the beach with letters to God inside.  Apparently, locals and tourists frequent this mailbox in the early hours of the morning and leave notes to God.  I couldn’t help myself.  I read several letters on paper and scribbled on seashells.  As I read these letters, it became apparent that people desire a personal connection with God – the One who created the massive ocean that’s merely feet away.

One thing that Christians do very well is neglect prayer.  We are good about church attendance, singing, and other noticeable aspects of the Christian life, but since prayer is private and intimate, we often neglect it.  If you’re like me, even as a pastor it’s easy to crowd out prayer in the busy seasons of life.

Prayer is our direct vein of communication that we have from the dust of earth to the throne of heaven, and we still neglect it.  The early church was characterized by prayer.  That’s apparent from Acts.  In fact, James, the half brother of Jesus and author of the epistle of James in the New Testament was known as “Camel Knees” by many of his friends because he spent so much time on his knees praying.  It was Martyn Lloyd-Jones who once said, “Man is at his greatest and highest when on his knees he comes face to face to God.”

Consider the following:

  • We have access to the throne of God by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 4:16).
  • Jesus has given us specific directions regarding prayer (Matthew 6:5-13).
  • Jesus often was seen going up on the mountain to get alone with the Father.
  • Confession of sin is necessary for ongoing sanctification (1 John 1:9).
  • Many of the Psalms are prayers to God from a heart of distress and a heart of joy.
  • Private prayer and intimate time with the Lord is commanded (Matthew 6:5-6).
  • We are to pray for one another (James 5:16).
  • Pray for your pastors (Hebrews 13:17-18).

James Montgomery Boice abandoned his optimism that he was known for on one occasion when he told his congregation:

I believe that not one prayer in a hundred of those that fill our churches on a Sunday morning is actually made to Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are made to men or to the praying one himself, and that includes the prayers of preachers as well as those of the members of the congregation. [1]

When it comes time to load the van for your annual trip to your family’s “happy place” this summer, it may be a good idea to spend some time thinking, pondering, reflecting, and planning your prayer life.  I find that driving long distances helps me think.  Upon arrival, take time to walk on the sand early in the morning as the sun rises and talk to God.  Those intimate moments will often spark a more committed prayer life upon your return home.  If we neglect something in life, we must labor to make sure it isn’t prayer.


[1] R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 150.