We take a lot for granted. Advances that once seemed like life-changers are now staples. It’s hard for us to imagine, but there was a first day with electricity, running water, and the internet. Now these privileges are expected.

In the Christian’s life the same could be said of prayer. Prayer is not an unalienable right of all people, like voting in America when you turn 18. Instead, prayer is a blood-bought privilege for those who trust and treasure Jesus.

The possibility that I may be taking this for granted came to mind recently when I was reading 1 Peter. Three times in a matter of verses the rugged Galilean fisherman turned preacher reminded me that my prayers can be hindered by my actions.

Here are the examples:

3:7 — Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

3:12 — For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

4:7 — The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

Far from being a right to be taken for granted prayer is a privilege to be treasured. If we are treasuring this privilege then we will guard against its pilfering. Sin robs the treasure. Therefore, as Christians we should continually inspect our lives for parasites of sin that are eating away at our healthy prayer life.

Among other reasons to be vigilant against sin and guard the privilege of prayer is because of its sweetness and power. The sweetness of communion with God in prayer should never be assumed but actively treasured and protected. We are, after all, speaking with our Father who adopted us, our Savior who bought us, and the Holy Spirit who seals and indwells us.

Prayer also has a unique power. To neglect our spiritual health is to neglect our spiritual power. It is like slashing our tires on our car or draining our phone batteries before we leave for work. Prayer is essential to Christian living, so we must diligently keep a close watch on ourselves.

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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