Taking Time to Pray
by Pastor Scott
Have you taken the time to pray today? I can just hear some of the thoughts going through the air right now. “Pastor Scott, are you crazy, we’ve been praying like crazy” or “Of course we have, there’s a pandemic going on!”
I believe that we are living in a time when more people than ever are praying. Maybe some for the first time. I hope their prayers continue. We all live busy and hectic lives the way it is and now with the anxiety and fear produced by Covid-19, it can feel overwhelming. With the juggling we all do it is an unfortunate truth that the one thing we all forget to do, is praying to Jesus.
It is not to say that we do not want to take the time. Mostly our intentions are good. But putting that desire into action can be very difficult. It shouldn’t be. It should be a priority. It should be at the top of our list. Did you know that Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours (of each day) in prayer.” Now that’s commitment. And along with the consistent example of Jesus in scripture, I must admit it does inspire me to find my own solitary space to spend in prayer.
But how can we find the time? We don’t. What we need to do is make the time.
The good news is that there is a simple secret that unlocks a daily habit of prayer. In his book God, Help Me: How to Grow in Prayer, author Jim Beckman observed a key principle in finding time for prayer. We need to see the value of prayer. Most of us, in one shape or form, schedule out our days and how we have planned our day often reveals what we place value on. It is kind of like that old saying, if you want to know what your priorities are, take a look at your checkbook.
I read once (and I’m sorry I don’t remember who wrote it), “no one ever died of hunger because of not having time to eat.” If we would track what we do with our time every day, we would be able to identify what is truly important to us. If prayer is something we place value on, we will make time for it. And if Jesus valued it, shouldn’t we?
In Mark chapter 1, Jesus gets up early one morning and goes off to a solitary place where He does what? He prays. This of course is just one of the many times Jesus goes off to pray. We say that with our busy lives, how can we take the time needed to truly pray to God? I don’t think any of us can say we have more important things to do than Jesus.
One way to make prayer a priority is to schedule it. For example, when you look at your day, instead of listing all the things you need to do, ask yourself, “When can I pray today?” Make an appointment with God, and then keep it. Then you can schedule in everything else.
I know that some of you are saying right now, but how can I squeeze another thing into my busy schedule? Well let me ask you, did you know that Jesus understands the overwhelming pressures of time management? Think about the brief years Jesus had for His ministry. His time was extremely limited. And there were so many people who needed him; they needed his truth, forgiveness, and healing. His disciples needed to be taught and His Father’s plan needed to be carried out. Yet he made prayer a priority. And as busy as I feel my life is, I do not believe that I will ever carry the weight of responsibility that Jesus did. He came to redeem the entire human race. Yet instead of frantic urgency, He consistently modeled a life of prayer, of retreat, and of seeking a quiet place.
The priority of Jesus’ solitude and prayer time is mentioned throughout the gospels. It is how he began his ministry and how he made important decisions. It is how he dealt with troubling emotions like grief and the constant demands of his ministry. It is how he taught his disciples and prepared for important events in His life. And it is how he prepared for his death on the cross.
Jesus invites us to join him in his solitude so we can know Him better and allow Him to guide our lives to share his love with others. I cannot think of a time in my life when communicating with God and seeking His wisdom was more needed. As we begin a New Year, start something new and schedule some time for prayer each day. Put your trust in Jesus who promises to provide what you need for all your other responsibilities.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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