Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.
How do I spend my prayer time with God?
About two months ago I went on a forty day prayer journey. That was one of the hardest things I've done in some time, and to this day I can't tell you why God asked me to do it. He asked, and I obeyed. It was as simple as that. Not only did he ask me to pray for forty days, he told me to pray for everyone else but myself.
During the 40 days, I was tested to my limit but could not say a word of prayer for myself.
That - was - hard!
During that time, God taught me a few things.
- Discipline is Mandatory. I need to discipline myself. Wishing myself into a deeper relationship will not work. My flesh does not want anything to do with God so I must put in the effort to get closer to him. I have to make myself avoid the television, computer and any other distraction. I must go into my prayer room, sit down and focus for more than five minutes. I wouldn't consider myself a prayer warrior, but I know that becoming a prayer warrior doesn't happen over night. It takes time and discipline.
- Silence is Golden. There are times when I sit before the Lord and say nothing. I sit. Breathe deeply. Slow my thoughts and focus on God. Focusing can include thinking of who he is or what he's done for me. It can also include focusing on one or two scriptures. After a few minutes of this, I always feel his presence of peace.
My mind tends to be like a busy highway. Thoughts are always zooming around, and it is easy for mundane thoughts to take over. I often start my prayer time this way to slow myself down and invite peace into the atmosphere.
- Be Real-Be Me. As much as I admire eloquent prayers and find them to be inspiring; I have a hard time connecting to God when I attempt to speak to him in that manner. God asked me just to be me. He accepts my fumbled sentences, my tears, my groans, my everything. I can save the eloquent words for corporate prayer, but when I'm talking to my friend all I have to say is "Hi, it's me again, I was hoping I could speak to you about......"
It sounds informal I know, but it's a language that we both understand, and it's a conversation that results in a closer relationship with him.
What do I pray? What do I say to God?
The easy answer is everything. I pray about everything, but today I spoke to God about leaving my career of 17 years and moving on to start my own business. It has been a dream of mine for a long time, but I'm afraid. Is this move going to be successful or will I fail and have to return to New York with my tail between my legs. How do I do what I want to do with no formal education in this field?
Will I be able to support myself and family? How long will it take for me to get to the point where I can focus on family and ministry and not so much on survival?
This experience reminds me of Abraham's beginning with God in Genesis 11 & 12. God asked Abraham to leave everything he knew including his relatives to go to a land (Canaan) that he was not familiar with and start over.
I'm not being asked to leave everything I know, but I am leaving a comfortable place, and that for me is like leaving everything.
So I'm asking God to keep me, to direct and re-direct me. I'm asking for patience, wisdom, knowledge, and faith. Most of all I'm asking for favor. Favor from God and men.
Talking to God is a learned art.
It's not like a conversation with a human being where you are getting immediate gratification from the interaction. There are times when you will commune with God and feel like you are on the mountaintop. Then there are lower points where there is complete silence on his end. It takes faith, grace, patience, and wisdom gleaned from experience to get it right. To understand that silence doesn't equal rejection. To know that no matter what happens, God will never abandon you and always has your best interest at heart.
Don't let the lower points discourage you from conversing with him. He is never far and always hears you. As a matter of fact, he as is always as close as the mention of his name. So spend some time with him today. He is waiting to talk to you.
Here are some great books you can read to help you get started on your journey.
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Until next time,
Live in gratitude. Live in love.