This morning I read Colossians 4:2. Paul exhorted, Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. I wanna know, just how does a mom of 5 young kids, a single parent, college student, or full-time working father, HOW DO I do this?
How’s your prayer life?
Mine sucks, so no judgment from me. I want to encourage us both. Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons we have against the enemy of our soul. More than that, prayer is a vital part of our relationship with God. So what keeps us from praying?
We take prayer for granted
Every morning I get up early so I can walk/pray for 45 minutes. You might think 45 minutes is great. It could be! However, five minutes into my talk with God, I’m distracted. A beautiful sunrise, a dog barking, stepping in a puddle, and I’m gone. Sometime later, I find I’ve been caught up in my own mind-chatter and spent the whole time talking to myself, not to God. Then I think, “oh well, I’ll pray better later”, but I don’t.
Praying without faith
On the flip-side, we pray as though we’re talking to a inattentive parent. Once in a while, God might glance our way, pretending to listen. We don’t believe He’ll respond, even though He promises He will. Jeremiah 33:3. When He does, we’re shocked. Sometimes I think, “God, you actually heard me?”
What is prayer?
Simply put: it’s a conversation with God. Yet, it’s so much more! In Luke 6:13, Jesus went to proseuchomai (Greek for pray). Which means “to exchange wishes; pray – literally, to interact with the Lord by switching human wishes (ideas) for His wishes as He imparts faith (divine persuasion)”.
I don’t know about you, but I find that convicting. Usually, I come to the LORD with my wish list, expecting Him to get onboard with my agenda. Imagine, God wants to entrust His wish list to me!
What does it look like to be devoted?
Let’s dispel the ideology that prayer comes naturally. It doesn’t. Sure there are those beautiful moments when you and I can’t stop ourselves from praying. I love when words of praise, adoration, and petition for others just bubbles over and I’m not even sure where all those words came from. However, that’s not the norm.
Rather, the Apostle Paul frequently mentioned having to strive in prayer. Jesus got up super early. He got alone. He spent time at it. In other words, He developed a discipline of prayer. Conclusion: it’s a constant battle pray consistently.
A devoted life is a sacrificed life. Regardless of what you’re doing, you’re ready to devote yourself to prayer. A text from a friend; you stop and pray. Breaking news; you drop to your knees. You pray on the run, in the shower, while making dinner, at work, and sometimes in your sleep. Constantly praying, despite the intense effort. No matter what.
How to develop a devoted prayer life
Try beginning your prayer time with a simple prayer: “Father, your word tells me you will give me the will and the power to act according to all that pleases you. I know it pleases you when I devote myself to prayer, being alert and thankful. Would you give me an undistracted mind and an undivided heart. Fill me with your spirit and with faith.
Stay alert! Easier said than done, right? Here’s a few helpful hints: Open your mouth. Begin to speak. I usually can’t pray silently. That’s how I end up talking to myself. Outloud, so you can hear yourself.
Set a timer. If you’ve drifted off, the timer will reel you back in. Keep a prayer checklist so you get right back at it. When you begin to take this seriously, it’s important to develop a discipline that works for you.
Journal, it helps to keep focused. Then you can look back. I’m often stunned when I see God’s faithfulness in hindsight. That inspires me to pray even more. This year I started a prayer journal for my husband and each child. They don’t know about it, however, my hope is, one day they will read and see how faithful God has been to each of them.
Why Devote Yourself to Prayer?
If I think my To-DO list is important, how much more important is God’s To-Do list? It’s humbling to think that God’s will is accomplished through our devoted prayers. I began by asking how people with busy lives devote themselves to prayer. As I bring this to a close, my question is not, “how can we”, but how can we NOT devote ourselves to prayer?
One final reason to devote yourself to prayer: read Revelation 5:8. Is it possible that God has been collecting your prayers in a bowl? That’s how special your praying is to Him. I don’t want to arrive in Heaven to find my bowl half empty, do you? It’s a staggering thought, Almighty God makes Himself available to listen to, to act upon, to respond to you when you pray!
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