Fueled by prayer
Corrie Ten Boom said prayer is the engine room of every congregation. If a congregation doesn’t pray, it’s going one way – downhill. A believer is fueled by prayer. With no fuel, they come to a standstill. Prayer is the beginning and the end of every believer’s existence.
I sometimes wonder out loud whether the time I spend on prayer every day is accumulating enough fuel to get me through the day? And when I look back, I can recognise the times I played outside of God’s will. It was indeed those times when my prayer fuel ran out and I made my own decisions.
Do you collect enough fuel to get through the day?
2Pray diligently, Paul suggests. The King James version says: 2Continue in prayer. A brief and hurried prayer is not enough. No, when you continue in prayer, it means that you meet regularly with God.
I wonder why this doesn’t come naturally to us. I wonder why it’s not at the top of our to-do list. Maybe because we’re embarrassed to come into the presence of the Lord? Maybe it’s because we do all the talking and don’t hear God speaking? Maybe simply because our lives are too busy to make time for quiet time?
I suspect the lack of prayer is the greatest cause of all the chaos in our lives.
When a couple whose marriage was falling apart came into my dad’s study, his first question to them always was: Do you still pray together?
Many of us struggle to pray regularly and in a disciplined way. We struggle, because our minds simply refuse to switch off. Riëtte (not her real name) gives us some practical advice:
My attention span is short. Sometimes in church I keep my eyes open when the pastor prays, because I concentrate better when I can see his gestures and sensitive facial expressions.
It must also be absolutely quiet. Any sound will draw my attention. And as soon as I start praying, I start thinking of all the things that need to be done, like doing the washing, work, etc. I also sit closer to the front of the church so that other people’s movements don’t catch my attention.
For me, it helps to write down my prayers. I have typed up my own thank you list, as well as a request list.
I also have a specific method for praying: I use my hand with my five fingers, a lesson I give in the children’s ministry that works well for me:
The thumb for praise and worship (I use the songbook for inspiration),
Forefinger to say thank you,
Middle finger to say sorry (letting the Spirit guide me, except for regular stuff like impatience and self-control),
Ring finger to pray for other people, and
Pinkie for myself.
This structure helps me a lot.
Make time for God. Every day and long enough. Then your fuel won’t run out!
How much time do you spend praying?
Does your fuel run out sometimes?
What should you do?
Father, I know very well that I can’t go through life without prayer. I know it’s the fuel that gets me through the day. I often see the chaos that erupts when I don’t spend enough time with You. I would like to pray regularly and in a disciplined way. Amen.