It takes time to communicate. There’s no way around it! Considering everything else you need to do, it will probably seem like a sacrifice at first to take a few minutes with the Lord before your day begins. It may also seem like an awkward and unwelcome interruption to stop other things later to talk with the Lord. It’s a mistake, though, to look at time spent in prayer as time that could have been better used to get things done, because as busy as you may be, if you take time to pray, you’ll be able to get a lot more done than you ever would otherwise. It’s an investment, but once you start reaping the benefits, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
Make a conscious effort. Like any new habit, this will take conscious effort over a period of time. You have to really work at it at first. It usually involves a lot of forgetting and some remembering, but in time you’ll find you’re remembering to pray more and more, and forgetting less.
Make it a priority. You always have time for the things you consider most important.
Set aside specific times for prayer in your daily routine. King David wrote in the Book of Psalms, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray … and He shall hear my voice.”1 If you wait till everything else is taken care of, it will never happen. If you find that one time of day doesn’t work well for you, try another.
Find a time and place where you can get quiet, and where you won’t be distracted by other things going on around you.
Set attainable goals for yourself—perhaps five or ten minutes once a day to start, and then try to up it to twice a day or more. Prayers don’t need to be long. When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, the model prayer He taught them—now known as the Lord’s Prayer—was only sixty-six words.2 It’s not how long you pray that counts, but how much you believe, how earnest and sincere you are.
Take advantage of spare moments during the day for short pick-me-up prayers. You can do it during a coffee break, when stuck in traffic, while waiting for an appointment, while cooking, while taking a shower, while waiting for the baby to drift off to sleep, while walking the dog—almost any time, really. Just focus your thoughts on the Lord and let Him refresh you and give you strength and inspiration to carry on.3
Even after you get in the habit of praying while you’re doing other things, you still need quiet times when you can give your full attention to the Lord and what He has to say to you.
If you miss your appointed times one day, don’t give up! Try again the next day.
Robert G. LeTourneau, the man who invented and manufactured the world’s first large earthmoving equipment, was also a dedicated Christian.
One evening he needed to design a piece of machinery that was supposed to be built the next day, but he was also expected at a prayer meeting that same evening. To postpone the building project would be costly, but he finally decided that the prayer meeting was even more important, and he went ahead to the meeting. How would he ever get the plan drawn by the next morning?
He returned home about ten o’clock. Up to that time he hadn’t even been able to make a start on the plan, but he sat down at his drafting board and in about five minutes came up with a plan that was both innovative and doable. He had been inspired by God! What is more, the little piece of machinery he designed that night became a key component of many other machines Robert G. LeTourneau went on to invent.
It pays to pray!
We mutter and sputter,
We fume and we spurt;
We mumble and grumble,
Our feelings get hurt.
We can’t understand things;
Our vision grows dim;
When all that we need is
A moment with Him.
Start the day off right: hear from the Lord!
You ought to try a little prayer time every day, early in the morning before beginning your day’s work, asking the Lord to help you, lead you, and guide you. When you first wake up, before you do anything, talk to God. Get your orders from Him for the day and you’ll be amazed at how He’ll solve a lot of your problems before the day even starts, simply by listening to what He has to say.
But if you go plunging into all your problems and troubles and your day’s work without stopping to talk to the Lord and get your directions from Him, you’ll be like a musician who decided to have his concert first, and tune his instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all in harmony with Him.
Don’t ever think “It’s too hard to pray,” or “I haven’t got time to pray.” The busier your day, the more reason you have to pray and the longer you ought to pray. If you’ll just spend a little more time praying, you will find that you’ll spend a lot less time working to get things done later. If your day is hemmed with prayer, it is less likely to unravel. It’s just that simple!—D.B.B.
Take time to hear from God, and He’ll take time to straighten out the problem.—D.B.B.
Most Christians today seem to be more concerned in having God hear what they have to say than they are in hearing what God has to say. They’re trying to put their program across on God and get Him to sign His name to their program. I heard someone say one time, “Are you willing, not to present your program to God for His signature, not even to be presented with God’s program for your signature, but to sign a blank sheet of paper and let God fill it in without your even knowing what His program is going to be?”
You need to learn to listen to the Lord most of all. It’s not up to the King to try to go chasing His subjects around screaming and hollering at them to try to get them to do what He wants. You come to Him with quietness and respect and you sincerely and in trembling present your petition, and you wait silently to get the answer. You have to fear, respect, and reverence the Lord, and treat Him like the King He is.—D.B.B.
Getting quiet before the Lord shows you have faith that God is going to handle the situation, that He’s going to take care of things. It shows you trust the Lord. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”4 If you’re not trusting, you’re going to be in confusion all the time. Like the little poem:
When we’re trusting, we’re not heard to fret.
When we’re fretting, we’re not trusting yet!
If you’re in a big stew, confused and worrying and fretting and fuming, you’re not trusting. You don’t have the faith you ought to have. Trusting is a picture of complete rest, peace and quiet of mind, heart, and spirit. The body may have to continue working, but your attitude and spirit is calm.—D.B.B.
I got up early one morning,
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish,
I didn’t have time to pray.
Troubles just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task.
“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered.
He answered, “You didn’t ask.”
I tried to come into God’s presence;
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
“Why, child, you didn’t knock.”
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled on gray and bleak.
I wondered why God didn’t show me.
He said, “You didn’t seek.”
I woke up early this morning,
And paused before entering the day.
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.