In the intentional living thing I’m doing (I mentioned it on my last blog) I thought through what was the hardest discipline for me to maintain. I’m great at Bible study and even can fast fairly easily, but prayer kicks my tail. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t feel as if it’s effective. It’s not a priority for me many times.
You read of these great men through the years who pray all night or are known for their great prayer lives. Read some of these quotes: I have reserved 3 of the best hours of every day for prayer (Martin Luther). The sun never rose on China without finding Hudson Taylor on his knees (Hudson Taylor’s Son, can’t remember his name!). I read that and get depressed.
I’m not sure that’s the model though. In fact all of the prayers of the Bible are short. Even the longest recorded prayer in Nehemiah takes about 5 minutes to read. Jesus teaches that prayer isn’t heard because it’s long or flowery.
Paul gives us the command to pray without ceasing. I’m a big fan of this. And it has for years been my primary prayer time. It’s constant. It’s something I actually do and it keeps me tethered to Christ all day long. All through the day, I mutter little 4 or 5 sentence prayers. The first thing I do as I’m walking to the bathroom after waking up. On the way to drop Danny off at school. As I answer emails I pray briefly for each person I email. I sometime write prayers in the emails. You know all through the day.
But these rarely are intentional. When I pray it’s as I’m coming across things or dealing with things. So unless a certain request or need is on my agenda or schedule that day it doesn’t get prayed about. So I’m thinking maybe once a week I’ll have a prayer session. Maybe a half an hour or hour on Monday morning where I write out the major prayer requests in my life, family, my small group, church, city, etc and talk to God about them. To be honest I don’t have a good attitude that this will actually become a reality. I don’t want to cease praying. I also don’t want to faint while lifting.
What about you? What’s your hardest discipline to maintain? Why?