I can say that this is an area I struggle in.
Pray for how long? Every day? What do I get out of it? Does prayer really change anything? How can I concentrate long enough to have a meaningful prayer time?
I’ve realized that prayer takes practice. It takes really digging in and learning HOW to pray.
- prayer – a devout petition to God or act of worship, an act of communion with God
We don’t pray so we can have prayers filled with eloquent words or religious quotes. Learning to pray means learning to have meaningful, purposeful, relational time with god. Time where our thoughts don’t wander and our words aren’t interrupted. Real, one on one time with God.
I think about that, and I wonder, “Is that possible? I’m a mom with 3 small children and I’m supposed to have uninterrupted time to pray?” I read about these great men in the Bible who spoke with God. They saw real results and had faith to move mountains. They believed that when they prayed, God heard them and answered them.
Do I believe that?
Look at the disciples. They were asked to pray in the garden with Jesus. Matthew 26 tells us that Jesus wanted them to stay alert and pray for 1 hour. only 1 hour. I’m sure you’ve heard teaching on that before… but think about it again. They were asked by Jesus himself to pray. He was sitting only yards away from them and they couldn’t do it. They fell asleep. Could you do it? Could I?
Here is where it gets interesting. The disciples were told to pray. They fell asleep. Jesus comes back, wakes them up and gives them not only the request to pray but Jesus also gives the disciples a direct thing to pray for during that time.
Jesus says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Peter, James and John, three of Jesus’ closest friends on earth, failed to pray. Knowing the distress Jesus was feeling, knowing that something big was about to happen, knowing that something was going to change, they failed to be obedient in prayer.
You see, Jesus knew what the future held. He even voiced that one of his disciples would deny him that day. Not once, but deny him three times. Jesus instructed them to pray about temptation because he knew that temptation was coming! He knew what the disciples would face and he wanted them to be strengthened in prayer.
We know what happened next in the story. The soldiers come, took Jesus away and the disciples ran. They fled the area, hid and Peter denied Jesus three times. They were spiritually weak.
What if they had prayed like they were supposed to? What if they had been persistant in prayer for one hour even in the midst of many big distractions? What if they had been able to pray for that hour and pray against temptation like Jesus had asked? Would Peter have been so fearful when asked if he knew Jesus?
Think about Daniel. Had he not been praying faithfully three times a day, would he have been able to spend a night in a lion’s den? What about Elijah? Would he have witnessed the power of God if he had not cried out to God?
How would our lives be different if we really devoted time to prayer. We will not see victories if we are not consistant and faithful in prayer to God.
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:11-12
That “hour” of prayer might look differently in different seasons of life or different home situations. It might be playing worship music while we clean or taking time for Bible reading, praying for others, confessing or waiting on God – in silence.
Think about the urgency of Jesus’ request for the disciples to pray. He checked back with them two times to make sure they were praying! In the world we live in, with temptation around every corner, how much more should we be praying? How often would Jesus be waking us up to pray?
Psalm 4:3 says, “…the LORD will hear when I call to him.”
Hebrews 10:22 asks us to draw near to Him with a sincere heart. An effective prayer life is directly related to our devotion to God, obeying, loving and pleasing God. It means having proper motives and desiring His will above our own.
Does God hear our simple prayers? Of course he does! He knows our thoughts, our words before we speak them, our very heartbeat. But, how much more would we know him if we spent that scheduled “hour” with him every day? How much more prepared would we be for the events that are yet to happen? Prayer makes us more in tune with who God is and allows us to see things from His point of view. Prayer opens our eyes to a greater relationship with our Father in Heaven.
So, I challenge you as I challenge myself. Pray more. Pray more today than you did yesterday. If you pray once a week, schedule in another “hour” somewhere. If you pray once a day, try twice a day. Decide to grow in prayer. Realize what true prayer time looks like and incorporate it into your relationship with God.
Are you up to the challenge?