Making Time For God
One of the greatest attacks on humanity is busyness. Darkness creeps into our life when we becomes too hurried, too noisy, and too distracted that there is no longer room for prayer. There is no room for being alone with God.
In the book of Acts we witness early Christians expanding God's message throughout the world and I believe they found a large part of their success through their relentless efforts to pray. Let it be clear, prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul; it is a state of being.
Through the example of the first Christians, we have a strong example of how and when we should be praying. Here our some keys moments when they prayed that we can learn from:
1. Prayer in waiting.
The very first prayer we see in the book of Acts is a community prayer. The apostles and women that followed Jesus gathered together in the room where they were staying and prayed continually. They fed on the promise of Jesus as they awaited whatever would come at them next.
While we wait on the things that the Lord promises us, whether in our personal lives or publically, we should accustom ourselves to the habit of prayer.
2. Prayer for wisdom in choosing leaders and teachers.
God knows our hearts and he knows who is suited to serve him in leadership and in shepherding his people. He provides discernment when we have big decisions that we need to make in leadership.
Should we not be praying to him first then?
3. Prayer for boldness to teach Jesus' name.
Notice that Peter and John never pray for comfort or safety. They never pray that their will be done or that they might find success in their efforts. They prayed for boldness. Boldness that they would need as they stepped into uncomfortable situations.
The book of Acts teaches us to pray for boldness when we face intimidation or censorship of any kind. We should not pray for comfort, but for God to embolden us when the time comes for us to stand up for his name.
4. Prayer for those who treat us wrongly.
In Stephen's final moments, he prayed that the Lord would show mercy and forgive those who were responsible for his death. A stark reminder of some of Jesus' last words has he hung on the cross. An even starker reminder of our needing to forgive and pray for those who are treating us wrongly.
Stephen showed an image of Christ that we all should aspire to reflect toward those tho wish us ill and those who hurt us. It tkes love to turn the other cheek, but we must learn to pray diligently for ourenemies that they might be transformed by Jesus' love and mission.
5. Prayer for healing and miracles only God can do.
Instances of a person regaining life in the physical body are few and far between. But these stories are there to teach us that we ca trust God for the impossible. He is able to heal the sick, restore life to the dead, restore the brokenhearted. He can reverse death.
This does not mean that every person we pray for healing will be healed. We simply trust that God is powerful enough to make impossible things happen in our life. God is not a puppeteer, stringing us along. He is a loving Creator who grieves and mourns where his creation grieve and mourn.
6. Prayer of praise.
The believers at Jerusalem glorified God for granting salvation to both Jew and gentiles. Glorifying God for his goodness is one way the book of Acts teaches us to pray. We have so many reasons to thank God and glorify him, and in our prayers, we should rejoice in the wonderful grace that God shows to all.
7. Prayer for the Lord to receive our Spirit.
The last words spoken by a man being murdered for believing in Jesus were these. What comfort we can find in death knowing that Jesus Christ stands ready to receive us into eternal life with him.
Prayer takes on many shapes and forms in our life. Certain times in our life it is a deep meditative state where our words are meticulous calculated and thought through; other times its is a mumbled slur of words strung together by grief and confusion. Sometimes we pray within a community, other times we are completely alone in our mind. Whatever shape it takes, find time today to pray.
Prayer is not something that changes God; prayer changes the one who is praying. Prayer is our greatest power and how we connect with our eternal Creator. Don't allow business to conquer and control your life. Find moments to reconnect to God. Find time to pray.