Make room for prayer
Published 6:00 am Saturday, March 14, 2009
If our desire and commitment is to explore further into the frontier of prayer, it will be necessary to make room daily for personal praying. Some other things will have to go in order to make room for prayer.
Two things are necessary for “planned prayer.” First, you must set aside a specific time for prayer when you can be as unhindered as possible. Second, you must designate a definite place for your chosen time for prayer. Also, there is Biblical authority for planning how you will spend your designated time in prayer, such as praising the Lord, confessing our feelings, condition and sins; thanking the Lord, and making supplication for ourselves and intercession for others.
Lest you think I am only promoting planned prayer, I immediately acknowledge and insist that the Bible instructs us to “pray in the Spirit,” “pray always,” “pray without ceasing” and pray on the spur of the moment. When Simon Peter began to sink into a drowning death, he did not need to plan a time but rather to immediately cry out, “Lord, save me! Lord, rescue me!” One of the thieves on his cross near Jesus at His crucifixion did not need a planned time, a special place or a prayer list. The thief immediately cried out desperately, “Lord, remember me!”
But the Old and New Testaments are replete with commands and examples of planned prayer. The Prophet Daniel had a special place where he called upon God morning, noon and evening. A child of God said in Psalm 5:3, “In the morning, O Lord, you will hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.” Jesus set aside a definite time and place for personal prayer. Mark 1:35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” Luke tells us the following in Luke 6:4: “One of those days Jesus wet out to a mountain side to pray and spent the night praying to God. When morning came he chose twelve he designated Apostles.” Peter and John observed “the hour of prayer” (Acts 3:1).
In the teachings of Jesus he emphasized that personal and private prayer was the most important of all before our Heavenly Father. In Matthew 6:6 Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Neither public prayers nor long prayers necessarily impress God. Also praying memorized prayers have a way of becoming rote and meaningless to us and to God. Jesus did give us a short prayer we call The Lord’s Prayer. But I am convinced He gave it to us as a continuing guide for meaningful and balanced praying and not simply to be repeated over and over.
I summarize the one point and purpose of this article. If I am to explore further into the frontier of prayer, I must make room for prayer: a definite time, a definite place and a definite plan to be alone with God. Even love for God can be spelled T-I-M-E. Something else will have to go. What will it take for you to give priority to prayer: an earlier bed time, an earlier wake up time, less TV, less reading, missing a meal, less recreation/exercise/amusements, less hanging out, etc.?
Let’s make the decision today to pay whatever price it takes to go further into our unexplored frontier of prayer.