Our world is so busy! Envision with me New York City; it is always alive. The streets are cluttered with people, the landscape is busy, and a place of solitude is nowhere to be found. Just as the bustle of people keep New York lively, the bustle of our thoughts and routines keep us engrossed and active. We are always making deals, “turning up”, getting busy at work, or taking a short second just to catch our breath. For me, college only exaggerates my busyness and lack of routine and my first priority to suffer is always my prayer life. This being true, I ask myself, “how much of a priority is my prayer life if it suffers so readily?” My grades don’t drop, my relationship with my family doesn’t wean, my friendships are actually strengthened, and I don’t forget to do the basic every day tasks like eat, sleep, and shower. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not beating up on myself. This isn’t a “woe is me”, “oh me oh my” moment. But it should be honestly addressed, both by myself and by fellow believers.
Three ways to preserve and progress my prayer life.
1. Identify the things that vie for my attention more than prayer.
I’m good at checking the box in my Bible reading plan, but I’m poor at executing intentional conversation with the Lord. Why? Because I often use poor time management techniques during the day in a way that doesn’t allow me free time at night or in the morning. I’m either cramming in homework or sleeping in to rest up. For me, I have to be proactive and protect time designated for prayer during my day.
2. Establish a routine, expected prayer time.
This is a lot easier to write than to practice. It is especially tough for me since I lack a lot of privacy in a college dorm with a roommate. Still, I am lying to myself if I think that I have to go to the top of Liberty Mountain every time I need to talk to God. Those around me understand prayer, the need for it, and the importance of it. Therefore, I should set aside a time when I know I’m going to pray and protect it as I would class times designated to exams.
3. Document the Lord’s progress.
Seeing results is a great motivator. It doesn’t matter if I am studying and ace a test or working out and making “gains”, progress excites me! So, I should be documenting my prayer request, my new revelation of God’s truth from His word, and other important spiritual milestones and celebrating them. Likewise, watching God work and answer your prayers (and grow your spirit to be more compliant with His will) will soften your heart and make you tender to His presence.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours? By the way, I was writing to myself in this post! I need to learn this more than anyone else! God bless and get to praying, people. God wants to hear from us!
Photograph taken by Andrew E Weber