During this past holiday season, my uncle shared a bit about his recent journey through an in-depth study of prayer.
He’s in his 70s and has been a believer for a long time but the experience of the past two years has renewed his joy and restored his heart in a way he said he has never felt.
I couldn’t help but be captivated by the emotion and authentic sense of closeness to our Lord he expressed.
The freshness of the Word as he reads Scripture, the new authors he has discovered and the books on the topic of prayer he has read have all given him a renewed excitement for communicating with God.
Assessing prayer life
As I processed what he shared, I was challenged to evaluate my own prayer life and asked myself questions such as:
•What does prayer look like in my life?
•Do I honestly and sincerely pray for every situation or person in which I say I will pray?
•Am I able to truly put concerns in the Lord’s hands first and then follow how He leads or do I try to help in my own way first and then pray as a last resort?
•Do I slow down to watch how God works in the situations going on around me?
•Am I in tune enough to notice what God is doing and how He uses us if we are available?
•Do I thank Him and praise Him even in the storms?
•What about the concept of praying without ceasing? Is that really possible? What does it look like?
Seriously, have you ever tried to pray without ceasing? It is hard work.
I experimented with the concept one day, praying for every face I saw, every name that popped in my email inbox, every voice I heard on the phone, everyone that came to mind.
And wow was I exhausted at the end of the day.
Granted, I didn’t pray long prayers but even spending the energy to pray for every single person and situation that passes through your day is an interesting exercise.
It definitely keeps you from fretting over unnecessary items, forces you to weed out frivolous thoughts and conversations and makes you aware of the many, many needs around you.
It also made me aware of just how many things I fail to pray for on any given day.
So as I’m making my goals for 2018 and hitting the ground running following the holidays, I’m working to keep focused, sincere prayer among my “must do” items each day — and remembering what Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 3, “only God gives the increase.”
—Jennifer Davis Rash