SIMPLE TRUTH: Diligence in prayer

Published 9:55 am Friday, December 27, 2013

By Charles Christmas

I began a miniseries of articles last week on the word “diligence.” A simple definition of diligence could be “continuing to apply oneself without slacking up, giving up, quitting or being side-tracked.” The Bible has much to say about the necessity of diligence as it relates to work, study, thriftiness, care of your possessions, assignments, family, etc. But the Bible gives a large emphasis on diligence as it relates to one “becoming a Christian” and even more so on “being a Christian,” meaning, living the Christian life after the beginning.

Today, we review some simple truths about diligence as it relates to prayer. Our Lord Jesus helps us with this by his teachings and example. He tells us to have a time and a place to privately be alone and have our talk with God our Father: “When you pray, find you a private time and place and talk with your Father in secret. Your Father will hear in secret and reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6) We need a daily, consistent time and place for talking to God and for him to talk to us. But, neither he nor we are limited to the “private time.” His line is always open with never a busy signal. But nothing will ever substitute for a daily, personal and private time. He is a personal Father and God and Savior and friend and helper.

Jesus teaches us to be diligent about asking for what we need and desire when we truly believe such would please God and bring praise to him. Notice “diligence” in his following teaching: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?” (Matthew 7, 11)

Jesus gave two parables about diligence in prayer relating to asking and receiving. The Bible prefaces one of these parables with these words of explanation: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1)

I am convinced that if you desire to be alone with God, you can find a time and place. There will be challenges involved, but God will make a way for a personal and daily audience with his child.

It has been my committed routine for many, many years to set aside the first hour of my day for personal meditation and prayer. First, it was from 3:30-4:30 a.m., after getting dressed and making coffee. I could jog after that and get back to wake my wife and prepare breakfast, etc. before the duties of the day rolled in. Since the death of my forever darling, 4:30 to 5:30 a.m. is my private time with the Lord. This fits me. I share my commitment only as one way of having a personal private time daily with the Lord. Personally, if I do not give private prayer and meditation in God’s word first place on my daily agenda, I probably will give it no place at all. It is one way to “seek first the kingdom of God.” But setting your time alone with God must begin with a determined and diligent commitment to do so; then he will show you your exact and suitable time. It will cost you! But, let’s be diligent about growing in our “prayer life” with the Father.

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.