Are we too busy to pray or are we too busy NOT to pray?
‘Prayer, to a Christian, should be as easy as breathing’ and ‘a prayerless Christian is like a fish out of water’ I’ve heard it said.
Here is a short and very simple guide to helping you pray like you know you should.
Welcome the Holy Spirit
It’s very simple to acknowledge Him—that He is ready and willing and more than capable of directing your day. It’s by Him and through Him you will want to go about your day because He knows the day ahead. He knows what you need. Whatever tasks you will be involved in today, allow Him in.
Give your heart to Him and say ‘Holy Spirit, You are free to direct my day. You are free to mess up my plans. You are free to invade in on me’.
Think of a young child waking up in the morning. The first thing is to sit and and call for “Daddy” or “Mummy” or otherwise he or she gets up and goes on an immediate search for the parent until found.
Friends, we need to have the same attitude with our Father; refusing to be satisfied until we are with Him. When you begin to have this type of open heart to Him, watch how your life will change.
Be Preoccupied with the Things of the Holy Spirit
Contrary to what tradition and religion has sometimes taught us, prayer was never meant to become a compartmentalised part of the day—where you pray once in the morning, once before bedtime but during the rest of the time you have no connection to heaven.
Yes, daily dedicated prayer time should never be compromised but know that wherever you are, whoever you’re with and whichever environment you’re in, you can make a conscious decision to keep your mind on the things of the Holy Spirit. Simply talk to Him and be in conversation with Him in the midst of everything.
If you’re at work, use some of your break to read your Bible and pray or to go for a walk to be alone with God. Stay connected to God. You’ll begin to notice the Holy Spirit leading you, guiding you, directing you more and more even in the workplace.
Whatever your situation, become like a constantly hungry child who goes seeking something to bite every half an hour: go seeking for something to feed your spirit as often as possible.
Depend on the Holy Spirit
There are different types of prayer; thanksgiving, petition, intercessory, to name a few but there is still only one way to pray. It’s through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the One who drew us close to The Father and He is the One who keeps us.
When it comes to prayer, let us not open our mouths and begin to blurt out religious jargon. Even during corporate prayer, when people around you seem to be lifting up their voices all the more, it is better for you to take a moment to personally connect to the Holy Spirit. Let Him be the pilot.
There are times when we open our mouths and simply begin to pray but there are other times when the Holy Spirit takes over and we cannot deny it. The more you are acquainted with the ways of the Holy Spirit, you will not be able to confuse the two! They are two very different, very distinct experiences.
Find Time to BE STILL (or to ‘keep watch’)
Since prayer is a conversation, how can we expect to hear from God if we are constantly talking? It’ll be like calling up a friend only to talk, talk, talk, never allowing a response. Some of us are so busy that God can only speak to us in dreams—when we’re fast asleep and cannot interrupt!
Some of us are so set in our own way that God may have to send a prophet from afar to tell us something simple. It’s been rightly taught that if God has to shout something to you, it’s a sign of immaturity. Being still is a wonderful way to learn to hear. (This way, you may find that prophetic word will mainly come to confirm and affirm what God has already said/shown to you).
When you begin to practice being still, with no other agenda but to wait on (or wait IN) God, you’ll be amazed at the things which the Holy Spirit will show you. You’ll realise that He is speaking! True hearing is the hearing done by the heart; the heart always receives understanding through vision and images. This is true for every human, from the time we are born.
physical world: listen = hear
spiritual world: watch = hear
Now, the worst thing to do in a time of stillness is try. Don’t try to hear. Don’t try to see. Just wait. Command your soul to be still. The mind might wander but the more often we do this, the more we learn to discern when the wandering is a distraction or when it is a leading of the Holy Spirit. If we would find time to be still, our prayer life would have no limits!
In this time, you can also read your Bible, think on and meditate on scripture but ensure the dedicated time to just be still is not compromised. No one can teach you how to be still or be able to fully express all the wonders of it unless you practice it yourself.
Put Thanksgiving in Your Daily Vocabulary
Praising God is another thing that is traditionally put in a box and compartmentalised. “Now, let us praise God” says the leader and the people lift up their voices with beautiful expressions of praise. Finally, it all ends and everyone returns to their normal state, like nothing ever happened.
The truth is, the normal state should be that of praise and thanksgiving and a time of expressing this praise and thanksgiving should be only just that—a time to express what is already inside of us.
An artist without his paints still has vivid imaginations and visions of the pictures inside of him. Provide him with the right equipment and it will be natural to him to put those pictures to canvas with great pleasure. We are also to be this way, letting our hearts be full of gratitude always towards God then expressing it will be an authentic experience.
Intimate whispers of ‘Thank you, Jesus’, “Thank you, Lord”, “You’re wonderful, God” throughout your day at every opportunity are a great way to begin training your heart to always be full of praise and thanksgiving.
Make Your Requests Throughout The Day
This doesn’t come naturally because the carnal mind loves to bring thoughts that will cause you to worry but once you daily practice this, you’ll find it becomes easy! You’ll be in ongoing communion with the Lord.
This way, when you come to have your dedicated prayer time, your mind is already unclogged. This is powerful. It means you can enter easily, freely and instantly into deeper realms with God.
If we don’t make requests, worry easily breeds. Worry causes the Word to become unfruitful. This means the Word we are hearing/receiving won’t seem transform us on the inside or cause change in our lives on the outside. All because worry chokes the Word that is in you.
When you’re making your requests throughout the day, you are guarding your heart against that awful sickness that is worry.
Turn Off the TV
Anything that is a distraction in your life should simply be cut off.
Don’t just passively receive information just because you’ve made it a habit to watch TV during or after every meal time—or whatever the case. Sometimes TV will take your soul on an unhelpful, unneeded emotional ride. It’ll speak words into your mind, atmosphere and life that you have little control over. By the time you come to pray, you are frustrated, unnecessarily burdened and heavy-hearted.
When it comes to TV, choose what you watch, when you watch and WHY you watch. Perhaps swap your daily one hour intake of your regular News show to just reading the news. This is just one example of how you can save 3/4 of the time because you will be in control of what you skip, what you skim or browse through and what you choose to read in depth (in other words, what you choose to allow in to your soul at that specific moment).
There are many more ways you will discover to reduce your TV intake—even to zero, if you have the desire. Needless to say, all this goes for all other devices and media too.
Scriptures to love
Romans 8:26 shows just how much we should depend on the Holy Spirit
1st Corinthians 13:1 tells us how we really sound to God if/when we merely join in religious ritual
Mark 4:19 tells us exactly what worry is and what is does
Galatians 5:22-23 reveals the key to having perfect self-control
Luke 11:1-13 is a model prayer so simple yet full of incredible depths
Habakkuk 2:1 powerfully teaches that in order to hear, we should watch
Matthew 11:15 is a phrase that Jesus often repeated to His listeners. It reveals that we can have [physical] ears yet never hear.