– Francis Fenelon
Speaking to Your Father
Since God is truly our Father, why wouldn’t we want to be in constant communication with Him Who loves us enough to send His Son to die for us? You would think we’d be eager to pray every moment we could, but the statistics on prayer time is disappointing, even though I know I’ve disappointed God with my prayer time. The average prayer time a day is just under five minutes, and only one in five Christians pray longer than five minutes a day. Does that seem enough? No, but I can’t cast stones unless it would be at myself, so I try to pray continually and steal every free moment to pray. But it is hard because it seems the enemy will throw distractions your way: someone knocks at the door, the phone rings, or you get thoughts seemingly coming from nowhere. That’s because we’re fighting an invisible enemy (Eph. 6:12).
I used to have a bad habit where people would ask me to pray for them, and I said yes, but then they came back and thanked me for praying for them, saying that God answered their prayers.” Then I’d remember, that lied to them. I told them I’d pray for them, but I forgot. Shame swept over me. I started writing down the names of those requesting prayers, their request, and the date in a journal. Then I could look back later and see just how faithful God was in answering these prayers. However, sometimes I’d be away from home and my prayer journal and forget to write them down. Finally, I got an idea: When someone asks me to pray for them, why not do it right then and there? Why not? It’s urgent to them, so why shouldn’t it be with me, too?
I had a hard time with 1 Thessalonians 5:17 where Paul writes, “Pray without ceasing.” How can anyone possibly follow that command? But then I thought, Paul wasn’t saying that this is all that we should do but that we should always do this. In other words, “… pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Eph. 6:18). What Paul meant was that we should pray “on all occasions,” meaning “without ceasing” or praying whenever and wherever possible.
I remember reading where Daniel had to wait three weeks before He received his answer to a prayer, but the fact was that “… Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven” (Dan. 10:12). Daniel could have given up and thought God didn’t hear him, but he didn’t, so we must be persistent like in the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8. Jesus’ point was that we should “always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).
Pray as often as you can, and pray to your Heavenly Father. Pray at the moment you’re asked or feel the need to pray. Pray whenever you can and wherever you can, and don’t give up because often when God is most silent, He is most busily working on your behalf beyond the vision of His children.