1 John 5:14
This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, he will hear us.
This week I have seen God move. He has faithfully answered so many of my prayers, and while there are still things I am waiting on, He has reminded me that He has not forgotten…I just need to trust in His timing and be patient – both of which are characteristics that do not come naturally to me.
One of my 2017 goals was to deepen my relationship with God through prayer. While I know God hears my prayers no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I realized that often times I was allowing my outer circumstances to distract me from truly hearing what God was speaking to my heart. I was spending a lot of time asking Him for help, but not a lot of time thanking Him for the help and blessings He had given.
I have to admit, it’s not always easy for me to focus on my prayer time. Facebook, Pinterest and watching old reruns of Murder She Wrote on Netflix are often much more desirable when I come home after a long day at work – My mind is on overdrive and the thought of focusing and having a “quiet time” it almost as torturous as driving behind someone who is going 10 miles an hour under the speed limit when you’re already running late.
I needed to find a way to meld my desire to deepen my walk with God with my need to decompress at the end of a long day. Knowing full well that I’m not a morning person, I knew that getting up early was not in my plan. So instead, I decided to make 3 small changes to help guide and focus my prayer time and keep me accountable.
- #1 – Get ready for bed 30 minutes earlier each night. I am naturally a night owl, so instead of staying up until the last minute and then crashing out, I decided to get ready for bed half an hour earlier than usual. The process of shutting down the TV, keeping the lights dim and getting ready for bed helps to calm my racing mind and takes away many of the distractions that tend to keep my attention. Once I’m ready, I have 30 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time to spend talking with God and reading His word.
- #2 – Put my cell phone on vibrate or silent and keep it face down. I admit to being a cell phone junkie. The minute that green light flashes or the bell rings I just have to know what kind of message I’ve received. The simple act of turning down the volume and keeping the phone face down prevents my mind from wondering what I’m missing and stems the urge to just “peek” at the screen…and it keeps my focus on what’s most important – spending time with Jesus.
- #3 – Using the “ACTS” of Prayer to guide my time. I’ll never forget my first time at summer Bible camp, when I learned about the “ACTS” of prayerIt wasn’t about having the right words, it was about helping us express ourselves to God during our time of prayer. Sometimes I still feel like I just don’t know what to say, and I use the “ACTS” of Prayer to help me tell God what’s on my heart. Other times, however, I just cry out to God and say “Father, I don’t know how to express what’s on my mind and my heart, but you know, and I trust that you have it under control and that you will guide me.”
- #4 – Ok, so I know I said I made three small changes, and I have. But as I was pondering over a Bible verse the other day, I realized that often times I come with many requests but few praises. When I started to think about it, I couldn’t believe how many times He had answered my prayers and I hadn’t even noticed or really taken the time to thank Him for His faithfulness.
After reading some fellow blogger’s notes on prayer, I decided to start a prayer journal. I made three headings: Prayer Requests, Answers to Prayer, and Praises. My hope is to use my prayer journal as a physical way to keep track of how God has been answering my prayers and working in my life – and ultimately be able to give Him the glory for His faithfulness – even in those times where I might not have recognized His hands at work.
Maybe you’re like me and feel like you struggle to set aside time to deepen your walk with God. You may feel unsure of where to start. Perhaps the small changes that I have made can help you focus on your time with God, but remember that there isn’t one right or wrong way to do this. What matters most is that you desire to know God more and are seeking Him…I know He is waiting with joyful anticipation for you to call on Him in prayer.
Father, you are an amazing God. We praise you for your faithfulness and your goodness, even during times of trial. Forgive us for allowing the distractions of our busy lives to take us away from spending time with you and seeking your will for our lives. Thank you for your promise that you will never leave nor forsake us, and for the many blessings you give us each day. Help us to seek your direction and give us the peace and presence of mind to focus on getting to know you more and trusting your word.
In Jesus’ Precious and Matchless Name, Amen
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Have a great tip on how you’ve improved your prayer life?
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