God has been challenging me to spend more time alone with Him. All too often prayer is overlooked by those who prefer to be busy. If you are a highly driven person you probably find it difficult to pause long enough to hear His voice each morning. Being a “doer,” it is hard for me, by nature, to slow down and spend quality time with God. I am so thankful that He has been patient with me and even when I have been too busy for Him, He has never been too busy for me.
Let me share a great verse with you that stresses the importance of praying for one another. Col. 4:12 “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God”
On top of His word and the Holy Spirit I also ran across a couple of quotes that really spoke to me and convicted me. “If you have a choice to make between praying and doing, choose to pray. You will accomplish more by your doing, because you did!” – Ralph Neighbour Jr. “The small groups who pray daily for their members are far more likely to multiply than those who pray for them once in a while.” – Joel Comiskey
There are at least two things I hope will come out of you reading this. First, that you will pray for those in your circle of influence every day by name. Second, that you will spend more and more time with the Lord – not only making your requests known to the Lord but also listening to what He requests of you! Wayne Cordeiro says, “Prayer is listening in God’s presence.” If you have the choice to make between doing or praying, choose prayer. You will accomplish more.
Here are some thoughts I have developed out of my quiet time with the Lord on this subject that I hope will be a blessing to you and others. God has called every believer to a life of Character and Obedience, First! These are developed through our daily walk and personal relationship with Him. The quality of our quiet time will only increase when we have dedicated a quantity of time to be alone with Him.
Secondly, God has called us to a life of intimacy with Him. Prayer is not only our requests but also listening in His presence. If Jesus needed time alone with the Father, so do you. Make sure you select a specific time and place to meet with Him and when that time becomes routine or stale change it up. It will not always be easy but do not quit when it becomes difficult. I fear that many times I have left His presence right before He was about to speak to my heart.
Pray every day for your circle of influence by name. I know I already mentioned this but it is very hard to stay mad at anyone you are praying for by name every day. It transforms the way you see them and it increases the burden you have for them. When they are around you they can see you have changed and have more compassion for them in the way you treat them. It changes your heart toward them and breaks any stronghold of bitterness or unforgiveness that you may have held onto.
The fourth thing I have come to realize is that there will be obstacles. Drowsiness has to be the number one thing you will have to battle. Do whatever is necessary to help you be awake and alert whether that is coffee, exercise, a shower, or praying on your knees. Make sure you are striving to give Him your best. You will also have to battle your thoughts. How do you handle those ugly thoughts that worm their way in during your quiet time? A good prayer at that time is “Your thoughts Lord, not mine!”
Many of us think we are just too busy to take the time to really pray but you need to know that you cannot go through the express lane with God! Slow down and resist the temptation to be “doing” instead of abiding! Don’t rob yourself of what God is about to say to you by leaving His presence too quickly. Quality will come when quantity is given!
Lastly, there will be times to fast and pray because there will be times you will need to exert even more effort to show God you are willing to do whatever it takes to know His mind in certain areas. Fasting and praying can be a great way to get unstuck and know the mind of the Lord. DCPI (Dynamic Church Planting International) has excellent training on how to take a prayer retreat. I would love to share that with you if you contact me.
Hopefully, this will be an encouragement to you and a reminder that if you are surrendered to Him and available then don’t panic, wait on the Lord! He knows where you are and He has your address. You will not have to kick the door in because He will open it for you!