2017-09-30 / Religion

Serious prayer life

“And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.” (Luke 6:12-16 KJV)

I try my best to live a life that has no regrets, but I have a few. As a young-in-faithnot in-years-of-age Christian, I was learning the importance of fellowship with God through prayer. Even while doing that, I was not asking God’s leadership in many of my decisions.

One of the few regrets that I have in my years as a Christian came from a moment that I made a decision without spending hours asking for God’s leadership. I was working at a particular company and it was time for a raise. I was recommended for a significant raise by my supervisor, but the manager who approved raises cut the recommendation by over 80 percent. On the spot, without conversing with the Father, I handed in my notice effectively quitting my job.

What I realized later was, had I turned to God, I would have seen that my pride was offended. Had I asked God to help me, to guide me, to instruct me, he would have tempered my pride with a rebuke. I do not necessarily miss the job or regret quitting; I regret not talking with God about such a big decision.

I had only been married for two months and did not even consider my wife and her well being. I think communing with God in prayer would have fixed that too; God would have given me wisdom. It was just a job, but I missed something much bigger when I didn’t consider God or converse with him.

Then I read a passage like the one above.

The person that needed the least amount of prayer that ever walked the face of this planet prayed all the time.

Scour the Gospels and you will find that before every big decision, Jesus spent lengthy, concentrated, secluded time in prayer with the Father.

It was a huge decision, picking the 11 men who would shape the face and ministry of the early church. Bigger than that may have been picking the one who Christ knew would betray him. Possibly bigger than that, Jesus would choose one man, Peter, who would constantly get riled up and eventually would deny him and often fail him.

Of course, it makes perfect sense that Jesus had to talk with the Father all night about that.

On top of all of that, logically speaking, that group would have been the last men most folks would choose.

They were a bunch of uneducated fishermen, zealous patriots, a rotten tax-collector, rash, brash, reckless, ambitious, pessimistic and fallible men.

Of course Christ needed to pray all night to pick that raggedy bunch. (Let me be clear, if I would have been added to that bunch, Jesus would have prayed for three days.)

What kinds of things do we do with little or no prayer? Pick deacons because they are good businessmen or “nice guys.” Buy houses, boats and cars without considering that we could own less and give more. Appoint leaders in our congregations simply because they are available. Get married. We join churches because they have “stuff for our kids.”

Wow, the list could go on and on. Trust me; I do these same kinds of things all the time, so I make this list in brokenness and conviction.

Many things steal our attention, but I am reminded of what Martin Luther said, “I have so much business

I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.”

This devotion is a simple reminder of a thing we all know and most of us probably seldom do; we need to get alone, get quiet, talk to and listen to God.

We need to do it for the simple joy of having fellowship with God.

We need to do it more so when big decisions are at hand. We need to have a serious prayer life.

A prayer time missed is a regret that cannot be fixed. It cannot be taken back.

How many moments, memories and momentous decisions would be greatly altered for our benefit if we spend them with God?

The solution? Don’t miss the privilege to pray.

Tim Bowes is executive director of My Life Matters. Questions and comments may be sent directly to Bowes at twbowes.lightsteps@gmail.com

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