Quiet Time Component #1: Prayer

prayer2Continued from here.

One component of quiet time that Lysa TerKeurst mentioned in a video for her Bible study, Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart, is prayer. Prayer is a critical component of spending time with God because that’s how we communicate with God. What kind of relationship would you have with your spouse, child, or friend if you NEVER set aside any time to talk with each other?

As with any conversation, your time in prayer needs to include both speaking and listening. I used to only talk … and talk and talk and talk. Actually, it was more like I would complain, beg, and whine. I viewed God as a spiritual Santa Claus who had the power to grant my wish list. If He would only change X, Y, and Z in my life, I would be happy. I did not appreciate that God needed to change ME in order for me to discover joy. Joy doesn’t come from the world bending to my will – it comes from me bending to God’s will. This is one of many lessons I learned through prayer.

When we pray, it’s critical to spend some time listening for God’s response. Many people skip this important aspect because they, frankly, have no expectation of hearing from God. I believe unbelief is the #1 reason why so many Christians fail to hear from God. The Bible is clear that God’s people hear His voice and follow Him. From Genesis to Revelation, God talks to His people. Why would He go through all the trouble to reconcile with us, only stop talking with us?

In my quiet time, I praise & thank God, pray for others, and pray for myself. I then say, “Father, please speak. Your servant is listening” and listen for His still small voice, which gently reminds me how much He loves me.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace praying. Courtesy Bitmoji.]


Seven Fundamental Practices: Prayer

Continued from here.

praying_for_youPrayer matters. I used to not appreciate just how much it does. Trying to have a relationship with God without prayer is like trying to have a marriage in which you and your spouse never talk to each other – you might stay married, but you aren’t going experience the joys of functioning as partners.

Prayer is simply talking with God. Just as with your spouse or a friend, this can happen in a number of ways: indoors or outdoors, alone or in a group, crying out or silently, standing up or kneeling, and even on the fly. What matters is that you are talking with God.

Be authentic when you pray. God already knows everything there is to know about you, even the things you don’t know about yourself! You aren’t going to surprise Him with anything you say. He knows your heart, so there’s no point being anything other than authentic with Him.

On her television show, Enjoying Everyday Life, Joyce Meyer advises us to be real with God when we pray. For example, she says not to bother telling God that you will never do a particular sin again. She says, “Yes, you will!” And she’s right! Because of her advice, I have changed my prayer to ask for forgiveness as well as for God to change me to enable me not to engage in that particular sin anymore. Without His help, I am powerless to stop.

Joyce Meyer also gave me a huge chuckle when she shared her own experience with forgiving others. Out of obedience to God, she prayed that God would bless those who hurt her but then followed up with, “but I don’t really want you to do it.” Of course, the audience laughed, but she made a great point – God already knew that about her, so why pretend otherwise? She then provided excellent advice that I use daily – I can sincerely pray that someone who hurt me will come to know the height, depth, width, and breadth of God’s love for him or her. People who truly know they are loved are less likely to purposely give offense to others.

Prayer is so important that you need to set aside specific time to pray daily. Also, remember that a conversation works both ways, so spend some time in silence to “hear” (sense) God’s response to you. There’s so much more I would like to share about prayer. I’ll have to write a series on that topic later.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace kneeling by her bed in prayer and saying, “Praying for you.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]