During the month of August, my pastor called our church to twenty-one days of prayer. It’s an annual thing for our church. Actually it’s a biannual thing for our church. Each January we also have a time of prayer coupled with a time of fasting. It’s a great way to start off the New Year. But in August, we enter into a time of prayer without the added fasting. Its kind of prayer with eating, I guess.
Having a regular prayer time is a hard thing for most people. It is for me. Finding the time for it is especially hard. I’m a busy woman. I hardly have time to talk to people with skin on that I see every day. But God? Finding time to talk to Him seems to get pushed back so often. Only when I’m in dire straights do I seem to have the time for a conversation, and then it’s a bit one sided. I have a running commentary with Him most days, but those are more like text messages to God. A thought here, a request there. But a full on conversation? Those are hard to come by.
But with my pastor’s special call to prayer, I decided I would give it another try… this regular time with the Lord. I recently started working five days a week, and my job requires a fairly lengthy drive into downtown Birmingham. It’s really the only time during my day that I have completely alone. So I decided to make that my time to talk with God.
As soon as I start up my car, I turn on a worship song. Personally, I listen to the new Highland’s Worship CD, “Place of Freedom”. (It’s not a requirement. And yes, you can still get into heaven if you don’t have this CD; you just won’t know the words to the songs there. Seriously, get this CD on iTunes… it’s truly amazing.) I listen to one song, and try my best to set aside everything that clouds up my mind. I want my focus to be on God. Some mornings this requires two songs. Then I get the ball rolling. I start with thanking Him for a new day. I tell Him that I want my day to belong to Him. Then I use the pattern my pastor suggested, there are many different examples, but if you need a jump-start -here’s what I do.
Blessing| I ask him to bless me… in whatever way He wants to. I do mention a few ways I’d like to be blessed, just in case He’s coming up empty, but in the end, I do leave it up to Him. I don’t want Him to withhold anything He wants me to have that day.
Influence| I ask Him to increase my influence. We are blessed by God to be a blessing to others, so I want to share the ways I’ve been blessed. I pray for favor with the people I will see that day.
Presence| I ask for His presence throughout the day. I ask to see His face and feel Him near. I want Him to go before me and to be my rear guard. Which brings me to the last part.
Protection| I ask for protection against the evil one. If the Lord is going to answer my prayers, then I will need His protection from the enemy.
Then I repeat this pattern for my husband, my children, my extended family and close friends. I pray for my pastor and church leaders, my church, the ladies in my small group, and for my country.
I have come to look forward to my once monotonous drive to work. The time literally flies by now and by the time I pull into the parking lot for work, I am ready to face my day, whatever comes, because I have started it out talking to the One who gave me another day.
In just a few short weeks of these times talking with the Lord, I have seen Him move in my heart, and in my circumstances. I hear Him better, and am learning even more to recognize the sound of His voice in my ear.
Too busy to pray? Then perhaps you’re too busy. Do you really want to face this world on your own? Do you really want to hold Him at an arm’s length, or do you want to snuggle right in and talk to Him? Just like a great dad, I think that’s what He would love, don’t you?