The world needs more prayer. It’s the mechanism through which we collaborate with God. Great men and women of faith have always had prayer at the center of their lives.
Our lives work better when we make prayer a priority. Yet we struggle so to make that happen. When the kids were young, I used to wake up early and pray without distraction or interruption. My mom set a wonderful example in this regard. If I happened to get up early in the morning, there she’d be, on her knees in the dark, praying up a storm.
Recently I’ve struggled through a season of distraction that has pulled me off course. My prayer life has suffered as my normal quiet morning time became filled with the buzz of people starting their days early too. Beginning in September, the house started waking up around 6:00 a.m.
As I analyze it, I see that much of the issue is logistical. Not only is there not a quiet space in my life, but I’ve also gotten in the bad habit of checking my email while the coffee is brewing. Does this ever happen to you? If I do this on the computer (instead of my iphone which is too cumbersome to distract me for long), then the temptation to start in on my day’s work is too great and I waste time.
A few nights ago Karen and I went to bed early and were asleep by 11:00p.m. The result? I awoke at 5:17 and had an extra hour of uninterrupted time with God the next morning. It reminded me how important this morning time is to centering the rest of my life. I’m able to sit quietly before the Lord and jot down thoughts as they come to me and I’m able to speak out my prayers without concern for who else might be in the other room overhearing them.
As I analyze what it will take to get me back on track, I see that an earlier bedtime is a good place to start. Yes, many of us pray through our day, but God wants a block of time where he can communicate with us. For me, this means mornings (evenings are hard to control) and simply waking up earlier is not enough, I need to adjust my sleep schedule by going to bed earlier. When things are going well for me, I’ll get 90 minutes of prayer, Bible reading, and journaling. So, it begins by carving out the time.
Make prayer a priority
What about you? How much time do you need alone with God? South Korean Christians often spend 3-4 hours in prayer and their lives reflect the investment. Here are a few steps to take:
1) Ask God how long he’d like to spend with you and commit to it.
2) Set aside time where you can meet with him without interruption. For most people, this will be in the morning.
3) Identify a place where you won’t be interrupted. If your home is busy, you may need to go on a prayer walk or find an empty room.
4) Get an accountability partner to help you get on a good track. New habits are hard to establish – most people need some help.
It’s 10:59 pm. I’m calling it a day. Everyone is different – what works for you?