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Make space for prayer

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.  …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
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?

Comments (10)

  • Dear Daddy Seth and Mama Karen,
    Greetings in the sweet name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
    I am much blessed this article.
    I will share this with my prayer partners
    May God bless you,your family,your ministry,your country and your all schedules.
    We love you Daddy.
    Emmanuel Sadiq

  • My roommates and I get up every morning and pray together and read the word for an hour (6am). Then my campus ministry has a prayer time every morning at 7am-8. Then on top of that I have my own personal time with the Lord for a while as well…Think I am on the right track…God is great!!!! Its so wonderful to spend time with Him, but its anotehr thing to spend time with Him when the body of Christ is gathered together. Its so amazing. God is beginning to move at Eastern Michigan University…

  • O God, You are my God;Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
    Psalm 63:1-3

    I love BibleGateway.com!

    I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
    Proverbs 8:16-18

    I don’t always read this blog, but God speaks to me in perfect timing here. Prayer walk. Sounds lovely, even romantic – for my God loves me!

    I miss morning time alone with Him. I want to seek Him early, but especially Early in my circumstances. Why wait? Call on Jesus!

    So much to pray about in this dry and thirsty land. I need help. He’s just waiting for me to ask. Seek Him first, and everything else comes along just right. His right.

    I’ve been doubting him and I’ve been scared too. Thanks for the post. I’m very encouraged!!

  • I like your blog about prayer. A Catholic Saint said it this way, those who pray will be saved those who do not will be damned. Pretty straight forward. I’d add we pray not because God need’s us too, but because in prayer we allow God’s life to live within us, to grow and form in us. I need to start praying more, thank you for the reminder.

    God bless

  • Great time of the year for this reminder – the bit about the computer hit home – need to leave it alone until time with God. Thanks Seth.

  • Thanks Seth for this blog, a good reminder. Interesting to me that even in your stage of life, you are having to make an effort to find time alone with God. I know I tend to think “well, THIS stage of life (at home with 4 kids under the age of 8) is just hard to find time” but realistically, there will be distractions at any point. The best thing advice I have read recently is to plan about 24 hours in advance (ie, usually the day before) when I will find my alone time with God. Since our days vary a lot in schedule, and the kids get up way too early:)for me to get up first, this helps me. At times I use my “nursery time” at the gym to keep the kids busy so that I can go sit with my Bible and journal.

    Crista, I like what you said about seeking Jesus FIRST in our circumstances too, not just in the morning. Thanks!

  • I was tracking really great with you until you mentioned coffee and my computer.

    I’d have more to say, but I’ve got to close my computer now and pray….

  • ha – ditto what Michael said! Time to not just talk about prayer, but to engage in it … good blog…

  • Yes, as I am sitting here having one last check on those emails and Facebook and it is 11.10pm……….and I know I should be in bed for 10pm if I am going to get enough sleep…….this reads very true!!

    I used to get up ahead of everyone else in the house by an hour and get alone with God. I am not a great morning person – easily irritated until I have had breakfast – but I was okay if I had been with God first. These days the routine is different and everyone gets up earlier and I can’t sustain being up that much earlier than them.

    Need to find another pattern that works……..thanks for the reminder!

  • Jesus Himself went off to pray often. I cannot possibly expect to survive much less thrive if/when I am inconsistent in my prayer life. I experience the effects very quickly when I am not investing adequate time talking with God: not the ongoing dialogue or the quick prayers that are also part of everyday but extended time on my knees. It makes a world of difference.

    Thank you for sharing this!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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