A. DEVOTIONAL PRAYER– A DAILY HABIT
All church leaders understand and believe in the importance of prayer, and most could say they pray in some form almost daily. But one particular practice of prayer can become too easily neglected: that is our daily devotional prayer.
It is far too easy to allow busyness and other things to crowd out our daily quiet times alone with the Lord. That does not mean we stop praying. We might lead prayer in our church meetings, in small groups, or for individuals who come to us for spiritual help. We may even intercede for people around the world. We can teach on prayer, and even write articles about prayer.
However, it is too easy to neglect a most important aspect of prayer – being alone in fellowship with the Lord. Other things – even good things – can crowd out our time for daily, private prayer.
Daily private prayer – along with daily study of God’s Word – provides time for receiving direction, correction and comfort from God. It is our opportunity to hear from God directly about the things that are meaningful to us personally.
Let us look at some important lessons that will refresh us in our daily, devotional prayer life.
- How Long Should I Pray?
Many people wonder how much time they should spend in morning prayer. It is best to not set a specific time limit. Otherwise, prayer can become a task or heavy burden rather than an opportunity to share in a loving relationship with your heavenly Father.
You probably talk with your spouse every day. But do you make a rigid plan to spend exactly 30 minutes each day talking to your spouse? Probably not. Some days, there are important matters to discuss, and it may take several hours of conversation to come to an agreement or a plan of action. Other days, there may not be as much to talk about.
Daily devotional time with God is similar. It is our opportunity to talk with Him about whatever needs to be talked about, for however long it might take that day. Sometimes we will do most of the talking; at other times we may do a lot more listening! But either way, we are in fellowship and communion with the Lord, talking to Him and hearing from Him.
a. Make The Time For Prayer. If we are going to make more time available for prayer, it means we must spend less time doing something else. Therefore, we must decide what can be removed so that prayer can take its place.
Everyone most likely has something they could cut back on in the evening to allow an earlier bedtime. For instance, we might listen to the evening news or a weather report before going to bed. If we gave that up, we could go to bed a bit earlier at night and then arise earlier in the morning for a time of prayer and devotion to the Lord.