What Motivates You to Pray?

Luke 3 Pray

A Luke 3 Invitation to Pray

John Killinger reminds us of the good intentions we have to pray: 

Killinger ran into a friend at a local bookstore.  She had a huge pile of books in her arms. 

He said, “What in the world are you doing? What are you reading?”

She said, “These books are about prayer.  All my life I’ve heard about the importance of prayer, so I finally decided to learn how to pray.  I bought 14 books on the subject.  And I’m signed up for prayer group at my church. I’m really going to learn to pray!”

Several weeks later, Killinger said he ran into her again.  He asked, “How’s your prayer project going? Have you learned to pray?”

He said she hung her head and said, “It was too complicated.  I gave it up. I’m taking yoga.”

What motivates you to pray?

Is it a habit or a pattern of your spiritual discipline? I have prayed the same prayer every day for over 20 years.  It is part of my pattern.

New every morning is your love great God of light and all day long you work for your children’s good.  Stir up within me the desire to serve you in trust and obedience; the desire to not only do good but to be good; the desire to live peaceably with family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, strangers, enemies; the desire to surrender this day and every part of my life: family, friends; fears, failures; finances, fantasies; focus and future to your love in Jesus Christ. 

What motivates you to pray?

Luke 3  tells us about the baptism of Jesus.  In Luke, the baptism of Jesus is an “also event.” Beginning at verse 21, “…when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying…”

The verb tense tells us Jesus’ baptism is an “also event.”  The attention in Luke is not on the baptism.  The attention is on Jesus praying.  

From Luke’s perspective, it is while Jesus is praying that Jesus receives the Holy Spirit. It was while he was praying, “the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22).

The call and confirmation of Jesus’ ministry comes while he is praying. There is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  

That same outpouring is available to you and me. In the act of prayer, Jesus is empowered by the Holy Spirit for ministry. As Jesus lives out his call he encounters people who embrace his message as well as disregard his message. He encounters people, like the woman above in Killinger’s illustration, who desperately want to pray, but who are desperately distracted from ever praying. He teaches others about prayer by retreating to pray.

How about you, what is your motivation to pray?

Would a motivation to pray be the power to make a difference in the community, the church, our families, and the world? Would a motivation to pray be to face the injustice of the world?  Will you pray,  listening for God’s call and affirmation?

Will you pray, listening for God’s call and affirmation?


Pray, trusting God’s empowering Spirit to call and confirm you in your motivation to pray. 

-Tim Bias

Read Part 1: What Motivates You to Pray?

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