Prayer Is Our Lifeline
Prayer is our lifeline to Jesus and whether He drags us kicking and screaming or we go running to our prayer closets to spend time with Him, He leans in and listens to every word we say to Him. Prayer is our communication line to the Throne. It doesn’t matter what it is, we can lay our hearts bear in front of the Throne of Grace and our Heavenly Father collects each word and holds them close to His heart. He cherishes them and they mean more to Him than they even mean to us.
He wants to hear our joy, our misery, our pain, our suffering, our worries and yes Sisters, even our complaints. He wants to hear them because He deeply cares for us. For you. For me. For each of us. Individually. Separately and collectively. Perfectly.
There is so much power that flows from us right up through the communication line of grace to God when we begin to pour our hearts out to Him. He is the One Person we can go to and be absolutely real with and He will wrap His loving, compassionate arms around us and love us right through it.
So why do we find time for prayer so difficult? Why are we not making our time with the Lord the priority of our day?
When I was a young Mama with a bunch of Little People running around, sadly, I didn’t invest very much energy into my time with the Lord. I was so busy trying not to have a breakdown in the midst of changing diapers, making sandwiches, folding laundry, and pouring over homeschool plans that I did not think there was much time in my day to spend with the Lord. I have no doubt that my lack of spiritual growth and the acceleration of my depression and anxiety had much to do with the very little time I invested into reading God’s Word and prayer.
The time I did spend in God’s Word was usually only during Family Worship. I had tried many times to rise early and pour over the Scriptures like my more mature Christian friends, but it wasn’t working for me. It felt more like I was fulfilling an obligation than spending time with my Savior. And my prayer life was pretty much non-existent. It felt as though my prayers were not getting any response. They were also pretty generic. You know, the kind of prayers we just toss into the air and hope they land in front of God: “Lord help me get through today. Keep my kids safe. Watch over my husband on his travels. Be with my father during his surgery. Help us find the money for this bill.”
Looking back, I’m sure that had I made time with the Lord a priority in my life, the Lord would have helped me navigate the rough waters of depression and anxiety much better than I had done on my own. Had I opened my heart to the Lord’s guidance and direction many years ago, I would have realized that He was fighting with me and for me, not against me.
God, in His unlimited grace, has taught me a few things over the years and has brought me to a very new place in my relationship with Him. He’s taught me why it is so important that I spend time with Him and seek Him before I go about the business of the life He has blessed me with.
Where To Start?
Start Your Day With Prayer
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
It doesn’t matter what our schedules look like, before our feet even hit the ground, we need to start our day by saying good morning to our Heavenly Father. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning. We need to take a few minutes to say good morning, thank Him for His new mercies and invite Him to be part of our day. Just a simple prayer that says, “Good morning Father, thank you for blessing me with another day. Lord, I need You, Your Strength, You Grace, Your Love to help me get through today. Help me to rely on You Father as You teach me, guide me and direct me today. Help me to stay focused on You Lord while I go about Your business. In Your Son’s Amazing Name, Amen.”
When we start our day in gratitude to our Heavenly Father instead of running through our list of to do’s or with grumbling and complaining, we are already starting ourselves off on the right path because we are starting our day with Him. We are putting Him first and inviting His presence to be part of everything we do. It also sends a very clear message to the enemy that you already have a jump on him and he is not going to get a hold of you without a fight.
Make And Commit To A Daily Appointment With God
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Jesus got up early in the morning to spend time with His Father, alone, and in private. He set the perfect example for how we should be coming to Him and spending time with Him. But Jesus also didn’t have toddlers and school-aged children waking up at 5 am either. Depending on the season of life you are in right now, morning may not be an ideal time to spend with the Lord, alone, in private. Try not to get all caught up over what time of the day it is when you make this appointment with Jesus. Jesus is more concerned with the fact that you want to spend time with Him than what time of the day it is when you do. When we start thinking it’s about rules or thinking He’s mad at us because we didn’t meet with Him at 4:30 am, but instead met with Him at 2:00 pm when the Little People were napping, we make it legalistic and turn it into a “works” relationship with Jesus.
It can be tempting to use our “free time” to catch up on those projects we’ve put off, watch our television programs in peace or scroll through our social media platforms. I want to encourage you to instead use at least a portion of your free time to spend alone with Jesus, in private. Start with small chunks of time. Dedicate just fifteen or thirty minutes to prayer, repenting of sin, reading God’s Word, and journaling what He speaks to your heart and what He is trying to teach you through His Word. God will speak to our hearts if we just get quiet enough to listen to Him.
Gather Your Tools
“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you.”
A good bible like this one here
There are tons of Bible apps available for your cell phone, but I really want to encourage you to use a physical Bible for your time alone with the Lord. Having an app on your phone is handy, but the notifications from your other apps, and text messages will be distracting and it will be very tempting to open those notifications or text messages. Jesus wants your complete, undivided attention and He can’t have that if there are messages, and alerts going off while you are reading His Word, praying or listening to what He’s speaking to your heart. Distraction will block the voice of God.
It does not have to be fancy unless you want it to be. I use a regular five subject spiral notebook as my prayer journal. Writing down our prayers helps us to be able to go back and see where God has been working in our lives. It also helps us “remember” (for those of us with memory problems or busy schedules) and record the time spent with the Lord. I use my prayer journal to record my prayers, the prayers He’s answered and how, to record verses that He’s speaking to my heart, what He’s teaching me or anything else that He may lay on my heart during our time together. It also helps me to remember who the real enemy is. Where and who my focus is supposed to be on. Who I am according to God and where I’m headed.
Pens, Bible Highlighters, Sticky Notes, Index Cards, etc.
I need to caution you not to put sticky notes on your Bible pages. They will rip the pages and ruin your Bible. I highlight Scriptures that the Lord has brought to my attention and then put the date in the margin. Doing this helps to remind me at a later time when I come across that verse to go back to my journal and see what was happening between the Lord and me during that time in my life. The index cards I use to write down memory verses that I later put up on the fridge, our dry erase board, my mirror or in my car. They can also be used to write verses on to give to your husband or your kids as a way of encouraging them with God’s Word.
I always like to complete my time with the Lord by putting on some worship music. Being able to praise Him through music just seems fitting to me and my style, but please don’t feel like this is an obligation.
End your evening in prayer
“When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
After a long day of juggling the business of life, David laid his head down and reflected on all God had done to help him, to protect him, to love him. It was this type of reflection that brought David joy and caused him to hold on to God with everything he had. Knowing that God was holding David in His hands, most certainly comforted David. It would serve us well to do the same.
Our lives are busy, hectic, stressful and sometimes extremely overwhelming. When we look back on our day and reflect on where God was at work in us and through us, it can fill us with such an amazing sense of peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Thanking Jesus for another amazing day, for being with us through the struggles and the joyful periods of the day and thanking Him for His protection throughout the night is a simple, but powerful way to end our day with the Lord’s presence still front and center.
I can not count the times the Lord has laid something on my heart through this time of reflection or has woken me up in the middle of the night. For this reason, I keep a small notepad next to my bed so I can jot down anything that He is speaking over me. Sometimes, He’s adamant about what He is speaking to my heart and I find myself getting out of bed and going into prayer and journaling or going to His Word; other times, these little notes make their way into my appointment time with Jesus the next day.
James 4:9 tells us that if we draw close to God, He will draw close to us. He leans in as we lean into Him. He pulls us close and holds us in His arms. He whispers to our hearts and sometimes He even disciplines us (Hebrews 12:6). My prayer is that as you and I spend time with the Lord we find ourselves eagerly anticipating our next appointment that we have with Him.