I by no means, am a perfect Christian. Hardly. I have failed God miserably on so many occasions in so many ways. Fortunately for me, God is a loving God, a merciful God, a forgiving God who no matter what we do will always open His arms to us and forgive us so long as we repent of our sins and turn ourselves back to Him.
I open today’s entry saying this because there are so many times I have wondered, am I doing enough? Am I praying enough? Am I praying the right way? Did I really mess up today? Why is God doing this to me? Answers to those questions are often difficult to answer because circumstances, and details leading up to those events are really the key. God knows what’s really in our heart. Yes, we as humans can talk ourselves into believing anything, God truly knows.
This is really an introduction to some common questions that I have asked myself, mistakes I have made, and things I have learned over the years. I hope that maybe I can take the things that I have learned and pass them on to others who may have had similar experiences.
Lastly, I want you to take everything I have said here with “a grain of salt” because most of this really is my own experiences and opinions. If I speak in error, pleas by all means correct me and point it out to me. So here we go.
The Bible tells us to pray unceasingly. When I was a kid, there would be times where I could not sleep the night before something “big” and exciting. I would often go downstairs and tell my mom, “I can’t sleep”. Mom’s response wasn’t to “count sheep” but rather she would suggest I pray. Mom’s have a way of knowing what’s best because I don’t recall a time that didn’t work. I’d fall asleep in prayer. Even to this day as a 40 year old man, if I have a problem falling asleep, I will pray until I did fall asleep. Paul is telling us in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 that we are to “…pray unceasingly”…. I use to think this was impossible. But it’s not. It’s not really all that difficult.
I am guilty of pulling my phone out and look aimlessly at Facebook or Twitter, or play some silly game my wife got me hooked on when I am bored and have nothing to do. No there isn’t nothing wrong with taking 5 minutes to see what your friends are posting or that silly game. But when it becomes a distraction, that’s when you cross the line. Couldn’t I be giving that extra time in prayer rather than looking at my phone?
My wife and I often sit on opposite sides of the living room from each other. Her presence should be enough reminder to thank God for the gift of her in my life. Her presence should and could be a reminder of the gift of the four kids that God has blessed us with. I should take that time and offer prayers of thanksgiving to God for them all. I could be taking that time instead of playing on my phone, reading my Bible. To meditate on a passage of Scripture rather than watching something stupid and unfulfilling on TV.
We can’t make time for God, time is finite. But what we can do is manage our time better. When we go to the doctor’s office with our kids, yes, pull out your phone if you want, but rather than playing the silly game or seeing what your neighbor posted on Snapchat, download and use one of the many good Bible apps you can get on your phone. Or sit in silent prayer. Pray when you have free time. Pray when your driving in the car. You can pray while mowing the lawn. There are so many times of the day when one can pray.
Please do not think I am self-righteous when I tell you my prayer life. I only want to give you an example of what and how I do pray.
I wake up most mornings between 4 and 4:30 AM. I don’t wake up that early for the fun of it. Once upon a time I would be up by 5 AM to watch the local news for two hours before I lifted a finger. I came to realize after time that nothing ever really changed from 5-7 AM. I would sometimes grow angry at some of the news stories and despaired with the way the world was going etc. It’s hard to be positive for the day when your day starts out with the news. I realized that I could be spending that time in prayer instead or at the least I could begin my morning with prayer rather than with what was on Facebook or on the local news. You know what happened? I’d wake up in the morning looking forward to my prayer time. It became easier and easier to not turn the TV on and easier and easier to spend that time with the Lord. It also became easier for me to deal with my kids in the morning as well. With less negativity at the beginning of my day, meant more positivity directed towards my kids. That made me feel better, and made them able to start their day better as well.
I am not saying that you need to be up at 4 AM. I certainly don’t have to be up that early, but, it’s easier to focus on prayer time then when everyone is still in bed and it’s quiet. If you need some quiet time to pray, try getting up a little earlier in the morning and take that time and spend it with the Lord. Next time, i’ll describe my morning prayer time in a little more detail.