There was once a young man who desired to grow up to be a preacher. Hearing of a stout older man who was known for his common sense and preaching ability, the young man decided to visit and see what he could learn. Knowing that one of the most important parts of preaching was prayer, the younger man asked the preacher for his wisdom on the subject. The older man sent the young boy away. Stubbornly, the young man returned the next week and insisted on receiving some lessons on prayer. Finally, the stout, older preacher took the young man out behind the church building to the river where the congregation did their baptizing. He still hadn’t said a word. As they entered into the water down to waist deep, the young man grew impatient because he saw no relation to this and prayer. All of a sudden the preacher grabbed the young man and held his head under water. The young man thrashed and struggled, but with the strength of an ox the preacher held him under the water. When the older man let him go, he came up gasping for air, embarrassed, angry and confused. The preacher looked at him and said, “Until you pray with the same desperation that you sought for air, you have not prayed.” Prayer is as important to our soul as air is to our body! We need prayer to stay connected to the God who created us with a plan in mind. Let’s look at some ways we can dive deeper into prayer in our every day lives.
1. Spend Time in Praise– Every prayer should begin with acknowledgment of the majesty and power of the Lord Almighty. Recognize his authority in that he created, sustains and will one day judge all things. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and we are not. Be sure to spend time bowing down and adoring his greatness.
2. Be Yourself- There is always the temptation to use the holy words of others in our prayers: “Guide, guard and direct us until our next appointed time.” As God is your father in heaven, recognize that you should be real and authentic before him. Don’t go through the clichés of holiness, rather open up your heart and be true before him. Come before him as you are and let him transform you into the saint he wants you to be.
3. Focus on Growth- The apostles asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray” Luke 11:1. Study Scripture to learn how to pray and how to approach God. Remember the promises, “Ask and it will be given until you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,” Matthew 7:7.
4. Slow Down- The world we live in today blasts us with media and noise from every direction all day, from texting to TV to the Internet. These are not bad things, but too much can be distracting from our relationship and conversation with God. Put God back at the center of your heart and mind by giving him ten minutes in prayer of every day that you would otherwise spend on Facebook or TV
5. Stay Moving- A prayer life that isn’t kept up is like a pond with no water flowing in or out—it becomes stagnant. There’s no oxygen coming in and it soon becomes lifeless and uninhabitable. But a person who cultivates their relationship with God in prayer finds a much different picture. There is fresh water flowing into and out of the pond—it is life giving! Your good prayer life will affect other parts of your life as well.
Prayer is a foundational centerpiece in your relationship with God. Since it is so important, focus on its opportunity