“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.” (Psalm 119:147-148)
Consider your prayer life. Reflect on how and when you pray. This should not be done to form legalistic patterns or to measure time or volume of prayer. Nor should this be done as a means dictate it being enough or even good. We should seek to monitor and guard our prayer time with the Lord. Our truth today reminds us of how very important this truly is.
Is prayer a priority in your life? Is seeking God’s heart for your life and for the elements of your day the first thing you do? Many people hear stories of great saints who get up early to pray. They pray for a long time and people attribute success of their leadership because of their devotion to God through a vibrant prayer life.
Most of us won’t have that luxury. Maybe on a retreat and all alone we might have that experience every now and again. But most of us won’t be able to spend hours in prayer each day. And sadly, many of us feel shame over that fact. But we shouldn’t. Could you grow in this area? Probably! Should prayer and spending quality time with God, consistently, be more of your focus? More than likely yes — but feeling shame over “not doing enough” only keeps you more at distance from doing “quality stuff” with God.
There are many things that distract us from spending time with God in prayer; comparing ourselves to prayer life others is just one of them. We have to fight against those things. Life can get messy, a job can get busy, and a family member be in terrible need. But we must not neglect the former (consistent time in prayer with the Lord) if we are going to make an eternal impact on the future.
Make an appointment with God. Ask your spouse to help you guard this time each day. Write verses of scripture on paper and tape them to your shampoo bottle. Redeem those moments in the shower or in front of the mirror as a time of prayer. Find the best time of the day for you to connect with God and then make it a priority. Not when you are tired and not when you are consumed. Find someone you know who loves God and who will pray with you. Call them. Text them. Ask them to help you build up this area of your life. Start there. Start somewhere — and grow from that point.
Through prayer, God forms our hearts and transforms our lives. Through prayer we have direct access to the Lord. And through prayer we can develop our intimacy with God and our thirst for Him and His holy, righteous ways. Is prayer a priority in your life? May you be encouraged today to reflect on your prayer life and to seek out ways to grow in this spiritual discipline.
Nick Emery is the pastor of Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church.