The faithful swoosh…
April 30th, 2019
Most legitimate Christians when they are faced with the question of what is most important to them would indicate their devotion to God.
Most, legitimate, when they must answer honestly and earnestly, will place God at the center of their lives.
Most, however, don’t think so much about it because there is so much to accomplish in a day they are too busy accomplishing, escaping, or scheduling, to reflect on such a matter.
God tends to get what are nothing more than leftovers from us, rather than what we need to sustain a relationship of any extent.
When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upstairs room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Daniel 6:10 (CSB)
The king had issued a decree that no one was to pray to any god other than himself should be put to death. The king had done this because he was full of himself and since his advisors had recommended the concept was all in without considering the ramifications of the edict.
Daniel upon hearing of this did nothing he hadn’t done before regularly. Three times again, he would go to his room, open the window that faced Jerusalem and pray. Morning, noon, and again in the evening.
Upon hearing of this decree, he did so in defiance to the king’s order because he served a greater king, God himself.
In this familiar story we find, consistency, intent, and dedication to a relationship between Daniel and God, demonstrated through his dedication to maintaining his relationship with God through prayer.
David prayed seven times a day.
I praise you seven times a day for your righteous judgments.
Psalms 119:164 (CSB)
Again reflecting, a consistency, intent and dedication to a relationship with God.
This intentional, focused prayer schedule is not something we should neglect in our own lives.
Many folks if asked specifically about when they pray might tell us they talk to God ‘All the time!’ Which may be correct, or it may be a copout to avoid having to admit that they really don’t have anything consistent, intentional, specifically designated to keep a dialog going between them and God.
Paul tells us in no uncertain terms we are to be in a constant state of prayer.
Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (CSB)
I’ve written about this passage several times. It is one of my very favorite portions of scripture. I’m convinced that there are a whole bunch of people that think this is just hyperbole on Paul’s part. Surely Paul was exaggerating to make a point!
No, he wasn’t.
But then, others will take the same scripture and facilitate a ruse of intended exaggeration for themselves. “Oh prayer? Yes, I talk to God all the time!”, they might say when they seldom if ever do.
Both situations are outside of what God would have us do as His children.
He wants that constant relationship and inspired Paul to write “pray constantly” because he wants to be connected with us constantly just as Jesus illustrates with the ‘vine and the branches’. There is to be that attachment that is abiding between us and God, which is impervious to all else going on around us.
So, our ‘Prayer Time’ should be full time.
And yet, we see examples of Daniel, David, Jesus and the early church, where there were dedicated times, committed to prayer and we realize that this continuing conversation with God also requires focused, intentional, dedication as well.
Daniel three times a day; David seven. Jesus, we saw frequently taking time outs to go and fellowship with the Father in prayer. As for the early church they devoted themselves to prayer!
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
Acts 2:42 (CSB)
How do we contrast these examples in our own lives?
We should ‘pray constantly’ as Paul stated in 1st Thessalonians. We really should set aside time to prayer on a regular schedule. This should be in a place where we can find ourselves alone with us God and us. No one else, no distractions. Some have a designated small room (prayer closet) where they can be isolated and uninterrupted.
Physical isolation isn’t important so long as we can effectively isolate ourselves to be alone with God.
But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:6 (CSB)
There are rewards for our obedience to these instructions given to us by our Lord. The most immediate of them is our relationship with the Lord is deepened. But there are others as well that God bestows on us in obedience to his intent for us.
We may say grace at meals, but this isn’t a substitute for a dedicated prayer time or prayer times.
Start out small if you need to. Perhaps only five minutes in the morning before you get going. For me, my ideal model is Daniel’s three times a day, but I find it isn’t always as easy as it might seem to set time aside in the middle of the day. However, the evening and morning, I can with relative ease.
If we are prayer journaling this dedicated time of prayer is a good time to go down the list with the Lord and cover everything that weighs on our hearts. Don’t forget to praise him for what he has done and is doing in our lives. Giving him Glory is one of our prime responsibilities.
Set aside your “Prayer Time” or times, don’t think about it or use the excuse you talk to God constantly, just do it.
In the Grace of Jesus!