“What we have here is a failure to communicate”-Paul Newman in the movie Cool Hand Luke
We live in a world of constant communication.
Radio, TV, internet, Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging, texting, email, cell phones. We have 24 hour TV, with 24 hour 7 day week news. Our cell phones are not only for calling people, but we can access the internet, receive emails, texts messages, and Facebook updates on them. We know what people are doing all over the world at all times. When you think about it, it is truly mind boggling how much communication is happening all the time with the entire world.
As much as we communicate with the entire world, there is one person that I think we tend to neglect.
You can’t “friend” Him on Facebook, He doesn’t have a Facebook page (at least I don’t think He does). He doesn’t use Twitter or follow you on Twitter, He just sees. He doesn’t have email, or a cell phone, but He is capable of hearing us. He doesn’t broadcast a 24 hour channel on TV, yet He is available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year. You won’t get to Him through any modern means of communication. With God, it doesn’t take any fancy equipment or a special location. You have to use the old fashioned way, your voice. When we do that, it’s called prayer.
The subject of prayer can be very deep, so for a little better understanding I contacted my pastor from our church in New Jersey, for his input. Here is what he had to say.
• First of all we pray because God commands us to pray (Jesus taught that we should pray like this…and he gave us a template in the Lord’s Prayer- Matt 6:9)
• Second we should pray because of Jesus’ example- HE prayed and continues to pray for us (“Peter I have prayed that your faith may not fail-Luke 22:32”, and “Christ…who is indeed interceding for us”- Rom 8:34)
• Next we should pray because God is almighty and does answer prayer- Acts 12:5
The Bible is clear, we are to pray.
Prayer is the one area that most of us would say we struggle with. And we have so many reasons for our “failure” to communicate. With Facebooking, Twittering, and TV added to our daily lives of work, home, marriage, family, and church, it’s no wonder we tend to “fail” to communicate with God. But God is the one true connection we need on a daily basis. It needs our attention the most. It has to be a priority; a red flag in our inbox.
When I was working fulltime, I knew I was running ragged and prayer life was suffering. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “pray continually” I was hardly praying at all, let alone continually. So I got a little creative. Here are some of the things I did to try to get more prayer in during this time. I still use many of these methods today.
Prayer Journaling-You can use a binder, a small notebook or even a pack of index cards. A Prayer Journal is nothing more than a place to keep track of prayer requests and lists of things to pray for. I have used all of these at one time or another. The binder was divided into sections which I used to organize what I needed to pray for each day, and people I needed to pray for. I also included a section for scriptures that jumped out at me in the bible, and a list of people to send encouraging notes to. This is optional of course. The small notebook idea was just a section of my normal journal where I would write out a prayer to God. I used the index cards method the most. One card for each day was designated for prayer of a different area. I kept the list of prayer areas general so I could use them even if prayer needs changed. For me, I only needed a small spark to get me going in a particular area. If you need more detail, go ahead and be specific, you can update the cards as needed. I kept the cards in my bible, each day I just pulled out the card for that day and started praying.
Out and About Praying-This is just praying in the car while you are driving though out the day. You can incorporate daily prayer lists if you want, or just pray for what comes to mind.
Walk the Dog Praying-This one is pretty self explanatory. When the dog needs to go out, I take him and I pray while I wait. If I need a longer prayer time, I’ll take him for a short walk.
Chore Prayers-Household chores are good times to pray. Folding laundry, sweeping, dusting, are all perfect times to pray. Our hands are busy, but our mouths are free to talk to God.
Instant Prayer-When I get a prayer request by email or phone, I pray immediately for it. Filing it away for a later “prayer time” didn’t work for me. I would usually forget.
Sit Still and Pray- Never underestimate the benefits of just sitting still. As busy as we are, making time to sit still and be quiet before God is vital. Even if you only have 10 minutes, find a quiet spot, and just sit. Before you know it, you will be communicating with God. Jesus took time away from distractions to be with God, we can benefit from His example.
Remember we can pray anytime, anywhere, anyway. Start small if you have to. Little bits here and there. Don’t set unattainable goals. You’ll just be setting yourself up for failure. The key to maintaining our prayer life is to find something that will work for you.
Just as we communicate with our "friends" on Facebook through posts and instant messaging. Prayer is the means of communication with God. God sent us the ultimate "friend request" in the free gift of salvation through Jesus. If we accept, we enter into a relationship with Him. In order to maintain that relationship, we need to stay connected with Him. We do that through prayer.
Here are a few more scriptures on prayer to motivate you.
Deuteronomy 4:7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? (N IV)
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (NIV)
Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (NIV)
Hebrews 5:7 7During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission (NIV)