“…pray without ceasing…” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Among the disciplines needed for personal prayer is the discipline of time. In a survey by Leadership magazine it was discovered that thirty-four percent felt “time” was the greatest hindrance to personal prayer. A similar survey was conducted by Evangelical Missions Quarterly, which reported out of 390 missionaries surveyed, eleven percent spent less than an average of five minutes per day in prayer. Sixty percent spent between eleven and thirty minutes daily in prayer. In contrast consider Andrew Bonar who wrote in his diary, “I work more than I pray. I must at once return, through the Lord’s strength, to not less than three hours per day spent in prayer and meditation upon the Word.” Or consider Adoniram Judson, who said: “Arrange thy affairs, if possible, so that thou canst leisurely devote two or three hours every day not merely to devotional exercises but to the very act of secret prayer and communication with God. Endeavor seven times a day to withdraw from business and company and lift thy soul to God in private retirement.”
We’ve seen the time discipline of two of the great prayer warriors in the faith. The difference between their practice and ours is not one of inherent nature. It is simply that they took time to ponder God, to study God in an act of supreme attention. We are too greatly overrun with our own trivial pursuits to find leisure for such time of spiritual pondering.
Lord, prayer is Your idea. You desire relationship with Your people and have created us to seek Your face. Yet, because of our busy lives and our lack of discipline, we have considered the things we do for You to be more important than the time we spend with You. Forgive me, Father, for my prayerless life! Grow my desire to fellowship with You as Jesus did…for only then will my life fulfill the kingdom purposes for which You created me!
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 25, Disciplines of Personal Prayer by Dan R. Crawford). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise the Creator of the stars, the sun, the sky, the earth, and all life in this vast creation. Thank him for having created you and providing for all your needs. Confess the doubts you’ve had that God could supply your needs from the storehouse of his abundance. Commit yourself to a way of giving that is as generous and loving as your Father’s. Ask God to continue to supply all your needs.
Ask God to meet the needs of families who struggle to make ends meet financially. Pray that their eyes will be turned to the Lord and to his ability to provide.
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Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2014 is published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries.