There is a Strategic Assignment God assigns to ever believer—prayer! This is perhaps the most difficult of all the Strategic Assignments that God asks us to do. Think about it for a minute. Other assignments that God gives the believer are not as foreign.
The assignment of Ministering God’s Word appeals to the intellect. Though only comprehended by the Spirit, studying the bible is still similar to examining any other subject we find interest in. While revelation comes from God, the gathering of information uses the resources of our intellect to collect the concepts.
The assignment of Participating in Fellowship is not unfamiliar to us; we have relationships of varying degrees all the time with people from all walks of life. To make a friend does not take the Spirit of God, to understand a spiritual believer does. However, sentimentality is a useful way of establishing relationships. Using sentimentality as a means to participate in a fellowship is not indistinct at all. We, as humans, can understand it.
The assignment of giving an Offering in Worship to God is not foreign. The human heart understands all to well the concept of thankfulness to someone who has rescued them. Our emotions are very adequate to passionately render gratitude to people who have expended themselves for us.
However, when it comes to the assignment of Surrendering in Prayer, we really have no developed aptitude for doing this on our own. Prayer that touches God cannot be duplicated in the natural arena. It is only spiritual and can only be done through the Spirit. This is why, in my opinion, prayer is the most difficult assignment that God gives the believer to do. The only way it works is through the spirit.
In fact, there is a story related to us in the book of Mark where the Lord says this very thing to three individuals He commanded to pray. In the garden of Gethsemane, while the Lord goes off to pray alone He assigns Peter, James and John with the duty of watching, which implies prayer also. When He returned, this is what He found:
Mark 14:37-38 NASB
37 And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?” 38 “Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
When it comes to the assignment of prayer, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The flesh is weak; the body is weak because the human condition without the illuminated spirit has zero capacity for relating to this exercise. All of the other assignments can find some sort of place to relate and be comfortable in the effort, but not when the assignment is praying. The Strategic Assignment of Surrendering in Prayer can only be done by the spirit-enabled life, which is foreign to the natural man. Over years of praying the assignment becomes easier. Everyone has the opportunity to enter into prayer. It’s the most difficult because it is the most foreign to the natural man, but with spiritual development the assignment becomes easier to bear.
J. Robert Hanson