“Hullo?” Abby jolted from her sleep and scrambled to reach her cell phone.
“Andrew? What’s the idea?”
“Um, you asked me to call you in the mornings to make sure you were up for your quiet time?”
“I’m awake now, thanks to you.”
“Ouch. Well, you’re welcome. Don’t forget to pray for Neil.”
Abby hung up and turned on her side. Only five more minutes…
Half an hour later, her alarm went off.
Abby groaned and grabbed her Bible, flipping to Psalms. She read the first one, mumbled a quick prayer to do better tomorrow, and hurried to get dressed.
My heroine Abby in Awakening Sun struggles with finding time for prayer, and quite frankly, I made this her struggle, because it’s been one of my own.
I want to pray. I want to get to know God better. I want to have a deeper relationship with Him.
But I’m tired. I already get up super early. I’m busy. My mind wanders. I’m worried about how the day is going to go. I suddenly remember everything I need to get done.
EXCUSES. ALL OF THEM.
I’m convinced the Devil pulls out the stops to prevent us from spending time with God in prayer. Why?
James 5:16b holds the answer. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (NKJV).
Prayer changes things. Perhaps more importantly, it changes us.
A few weeks back, Pastor Joe, the associate pastor at my church, preached a sermon he called “Wake Up.” He talked about four people in Scripture who were sleeping when they shouldn’t have been.
He might as well have stopped at the first person, because I was convicted. He said, “Peter was sleeping when he should have been praying” (Matt. 26:36-40). I jotted down the following notes in my journal and knew I had to get serious about prayer. I would be a fool if I ignored the needles pricking my conscience.
- Our spirit is willing to pray, but our flesh is weak. (Yessss!!!)
- We are so concerned about communicating with people (eh-hem, social media and cell phones), but we fail to talk to God.
- Jesus gives us the example for prayer in Mark 1:35.
- When? In the morning. (I’ve always been a nighttime, quiet-time girl, but if Jesus found it important to pray in the morning, then so should I.)
- How long? Jesus went out to pray “a great while before day.” If we’re going to have a relationship with God, it’s going to take a time commitment.
- Where? This verse says Jesus went to “a solitary place.” It should be somewhere free of people and distractions where we can be alone with God.
I talked with my dear friend Miss Q who agreed to help keep me accountable in making a time of prayer my morning habit.
I wish I could tell you my prayers have moved mountains, but they haven’t. I wish I could tell you that my faith is now the size of a mustard seed. It’s not.
But whatever size it is, it is being fed. And some day, it will produce fruit.
Pastor Robert J. Morgan wrote, “… faith isn’t something I can muster up at will; it must be given by God… He is, after all, a God who grows things.”
So if you’re feeling distant from God and wishing for a closer relationship, get serious about prayer. Maybe it won’t change your circumstances (at least right away), but it will change you.