One of the primary areas I’d like to work on in 2010 is prayer. At the beginning of the year, God brought the issue of my sub-par prayer life to my attention in various ways. One was the teaching at our church women’s meeting when the speaker asked, “Do you look forward to praying?” Uh, no. It’s humbling and disgusting to admit, but many days I look forward to my favorite tv show or a date with my husband more than I look forward to spending significant time in prayer.
In recent years, as I have become more and more dependent on the Holy Spirit as a mother, prayer has become a greater part of my life. But my prayer life is mostly informal–short prayers for help, wisdom, patience or self-control during the day. Or praying for others when God brings them to mind. That informal prayer life is valuable and important. But when thinking about looking forward to prayer and reading a chapter on prayer in Donna Otto’s book Secrets to Getting More Done in Less Time, I realized that I need to develop a consistent, substantial time for prayer.
Otto writes: “Fortunately, God is generous, loving, and–most of all–full of grace . . . He does not maintain prayer meters or time clocks . . . But the Lord of our lives deserves homage and our allegiance. If we are too busy to commune with Him regularly, we are doing a disservice to Him and to ourselves” (p. 237). She discusses the importance with combining the informal prayer life I’ve described with a formal prayer life: time set aside for prayer, including adoration, confession, thanksgiving and presenting our requests to God. This part of my prayer life has been inconsistent at best.
I love how Otto describes this time she spends with God:
Personally, I think of prayer time as a specific opportunity to get down on my knees and subordinate my will to God’s will. God has a will. God has a perfect will. God is sovereign. And through prayer I try to subordinate my will to His will. I do that by asking Him to create in me a clean heart, to create in me a sinless heart that is in line with His plan for me and to allow His desires to be my desires (p. 252).
Who wouldn’t want their will to be in line with the will of their good, sovereign Creator? I know I want that. But I battle against my sinful nature daily as sleep, worldly desires and my to-do list wage war against setting aside this time with God. I’ve been talking to other women about prayer and working to improve in this area, so I look forward to sharing more about this topic soon. In the meantime, I hope you are as convicted and encouraged as I have been to set aside time for prayer.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:16-18