Make Prayer Intentional
How many times have you said to someone who is struggling with an issue, facing a health concern, or suffering a loss, “I’ll pray for you?” And you aim to keep your word. But then the busyness of the day takes over and your good intentions are shoved aside, leaving your promise a distant memory. So much for making prayer a priority.
Truth be told, I hate breaking promises. I don’t want to be the person who commits to something and then doesn’t hold up my end of the deal. Has that happened to you? It has happened to me too many times to count.
Develop a Routine
I was beating myself up over a missed opportunity when I met a friend for lunch. We started talking about our prayer lives in general and what we could do to strengthen them. We began talking through some of the requests we had and both of us were honestly just trying to do a better job of making sure we covered all the prayers on our lists. Some prayers were specific to a certain time frame, while others were needed daily.
As I was thinking about what I needed to change to be more consistent with my prayer life my friend said, “I want to be diligent in praying for those who I’ve been asked to pray for, but sometimes I get mired down in my own circumstances and forget to pray for those I’ve promised to pray for. The worst part is finding the post-it notes all over the house and in my office, and realize my prayers were a hit and miss at best.” Sound familiar?
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18
Be Diligent in Praying
She might as well of taken the words right out of my mouth. Reflecting on her comments made me feel guilty about the prayer commitments I’ve let slip through the cracks. Even more, it makes my heart sad to think I’ve broken my promise to pray for family members, friends, acquaintances, as well as people I don’t know, but feel privileged to pray for. But God’s Word says we are to pray continually without ceasing and bring all things to Him. So if you’re going to make prayer a priority then your commitment and connection to Him goes hand in hand. Maybe you missed a chance to pray for someone, but seek Him where you are at that moment and genuinely share your heart. He’s listening and ready to hear you.
Just as prayer was a priority for the Apostle Paul, God wants it to be a priority for us too. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul conveyed his diligence to pray continually for others. Some of the most beautiful prayers ever written by Paul were shared in the Bible for us to learn from. His connection to Christ was marked by his thankfulness, regardless of his situation.
Like Paul, how do you make prayer a priority and strengthen your relationship with God? How do you keep your word to pray for those who have special needs or requests?
You see God calls us to pray continually in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. He tells us if we are to be obedient to His will, then prayer must be part of our life in Him. His word tells us to present our requests to Him. Philippians 4:6.
Prayer is the Key
Prayer is the key that unlocks faith in our lives. The time you spend in prayer is two-fold: it demonstrates your reliance on God and it builds your relationship exponentially. Take every opportunity to make prayer your priority and a life changing daily habit.
Statistics tell us we can establish a new habit in 21 to 30 days. On average though, it takes more than two months; 66 days some sources say, before a new behavior becomes automatic. So, where do you start?
First, there is no perfect or right way to pray–you just do it. Pray any time, morning, noon or night. To get started here are five ways to make prayer a priority.
- Give God the first 5 minutes of the day. Pour your heart out to Him—He is listening.
- Remember it’s not about where or what time you pray, only that you pray.
- Get on your knees. It’s difficult to be distracted or lose focus if you’re on your knees before God.
- Keep a journal handy. Make a list of praises, concerns, blessings and requests. Add to it as needed and seek Him every step of the way.
- Prayer is your lifeline to God. Talk to Him. In order to build a relationship you must communicate with Him.
It’s reassuring to know that our prayer life sustains us in a world that needs His powerful influence.
Take a few minutes and make a plan to be consistent with your prayer time. I am praying for God’s protection and blessing over you this week as you meet Him right where you are.
- What steps do you take to make prayer a priority?
- Do you sometimes find that your commitment to prayer is pushed aside due to the demands on your time?
- Are you always set to go when it comes to praying for people or a situation?