HeyJules over at Faith or Fiction? started me thinking about prayer. Prayer is such a vital area for a Christian, or it should be if it isn't. Have you considered giving God a daily gift of time? Not just a few minutes here or there, but a substantial gift? It would be time well spent alone with God in prayer and in His Word. Prayer not only changes your own life but also the world. How exciting is that? Just think, you can be involved with God, working side by side with Him! To me that is exciting!
"And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?"' (Matthew 26:40).
As one reads through the Gospels we constantly find Jesus praying. He prayed anywhere, among the crowds, on the hillsides, in the upper room, among the hypocrites and alone on the mountains outside Jerusalem. Sometimes He spent whole nights praying! In His greatest need he approached His disciples and asked them to pray with Him for just one hour. Instead, they slept while He waged His war alone. Prayer is our only answer to our daily confrontations with the enemy. If Jesus prayed, how much more should we be praying?! Prayer doesn't just happen, it is a decision.
I keep a prayer notebook. I consider it my partner. It goes with me everywhere. If someone gives me a prayer request, in person, over the phone, or by email then it gets written down in my notebook with the date of the request.
Choose a quiet place for your time with the Lord. Picture yourself in an actual appointment Him! Most importantly plan for this time. You may want to block out a set time each day, or you may need to work around someone else's schedule to assure yourself of very few interruptions. The important thing? Have an attitude of expectancy (Psalm 5:3).
Whenever possible, choose the same time of day. You may have to set your alarm a little earlier but this habit becomes a link to consistency. Determine how much time you desire to spend with the Lord. An hour may seem overwhelming to you if you have never done this before. Maybe twenty minutes would be a better time frame to start with. The commitment to the specific time frame will help to make your daily time with the Lord a success. It is always so easy to sleep in, or change your plans etc. if you have not made a committed decision. In time, it turns into a strength rather than a burden hanging over you.
If you miss a day or even a week, don't beat yourself up. Just begin again, immediately. You are trying to establish a habit which takes time. Persist! Don't give up. Remind yourself of Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
As you see the Lord begin to answer your prayers be sure to write down the date it He answered! As you look back over your year, you will see His faithfulness unfolding on the pages before you.
Every concern, hope, confession, request and thank you expressed to God has a way of etching itself into your heart and thoughts and onto the tablets of God's mind. And as we know He hears, we await His inevitable response.
Prayer really isn't optional. It is quite obligatory. Where there is an absence of prayer there will be an absence of power. Where there is frequency of prayer there will be continuing display of God's power. In prayer you are aligning yourself to the purpose and power of God enabling Him to do things through you that He may not do otherwise. I do not remember where I read this but it had a profound effect on me. "Apostasy begins in the closet. No man ever backslid from the life and power of Christianity who continued constant and fervent in private prayer. He who prays without ceasing is likely to rejoice evermore."
Won't you join me in rejoicing?!