Losing weight is hard, so we look for an easier way. A solution.
Magic pills promise a 10 pound drop. When I was young, there was a no fat, high carb faze. Now we’re told to eat only fat and no carbs. Or eat like cavemen. Or eat “S meals” or “E meals” but don’t ever mix your S with your E.
Losing weight and regaining health, however, needs two element: diet and exercise. (Do I sound like your mother? Or your high school gym teacher?) Our body needs good fuel, but if we don’t use the fuel, the body stores it. (You know: F.A.T.)
Are you wondering when I’m going to start talking about prayer? Got it- I’ll quit with the analogy.
Prayer is a vital, commanded, essential act of the Christian life. But like dieting, there’s more than one step to it. If my prayer life only consists of closing my eyes, folding my hands, and listing my needs, it will be weak and ineffective instead of healthy and powerful.
Take an honest assessment: how’s your prayer life?
Vibrant, powerful, heaven-shaking?
Feeble, sluggish, ineffective?
As you are thinking through that assessment, let me give a BIG disclaimer: God doesn’t need you to try harder of work better to earn His ear. This isn’t about WORKS. It’s about faithfulness.
Okay, now that we got that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get back to our prayer lives.
Here’s The Problem
The biggest hang-up prayer lives face is focusing on ourselves. Our problems. Our people. Our issues.
We want to make out list and have Superman don his cape, fly in, and fix it all. Cause the pain to stop. Bring back the happy. Make the world right again.
What’s wrong with that, you might be asking? It sort of sounds like a great idea. But let me tell you-- according to the Bible that’s NOT how the Lord works or what He does. He’s much deeper and higher than that. Our relationship with Him is more textured, interwoven, and eternal.
He’s not a repairman, fixing our lives. He’s an architect, shaping and changing our hearts.
How do we get on board with that? If that question makes you tired and want to give up, don’t worry. Take heart! There’s hope.
Solution To The Problem
The solution lies in learning the Lord’s ways and His view of prayer. As we replace our misconceptions with His truth, our prayer life will soar. It won’t have a choice.
I’m not going to soft sell this thing or worry about your feelings. Ready? If you have an anemic prayer life, you’re part of the problem. Sorry- just a bit of tough love. Ready for the solution?
The solution is only found in spending TIME in the Truth. If we aren’t in the Word daily (and I mean IN the Word) we’ll be overwhelmed by the lies we swim through. We have so much information shot at us from every view point and worldview, everyday, how can we discern what’s true or not?
Answer: we can’t. Not unless we have a standard of truth to line the information up against.
Now let me tie this to my prayer life: I find a DIRECT CORRELATION between how much time I’m in the Word and how effective my prayer life is. Why?
Because as I learn of the Lord’s love, I trust Him with every hidden molecule of myself
Because as I discern how strong He is, I trust His power
Because as I read His repeated commands to pray, I take prayer more seriously
Because as I study the powerful ways He’s acted in the past, I see my present in a new light
Because as I discover truth, I pray with wisdom and understanding as never before
What Our Prayer Life Needs: The Bible
How’s your time in the Word? Be honest.
I need this pep talk too. Because it’s easy to while away 30 minutes on Facebook or Instagram but feel I don’t have more than 5 minutes for reading the Bible.
I can binge watch a TV show, episode after episode, but feel a chapter is a bit too much to read.
I can read a chapter of the Bible while thinking about my grocery list and what time my appointment is, and walk away without remembering a single thing.
A Quiet Time isn’t a box to check. Doing it doesn’t earn brownie points. There’s no magic words to memorize.
But reading and studying implants truth in my mind.
Concentrating on His opinion rather than my own changes my heart.
Seeing truth being repeated in book after book builds confidence in my soul
Learning how God worked in actual lives over time and to His glory creates trust in my heart.
AND THEN my prayer life reflects all of that. I can powerfully pray in truth with confidence and trust.
Not Talking Legalism
I’m not talking legalism. However, I think (more hard honesty here, get your big-girl pants on) we use “not being legalistic” as an excuse to not be disciplined.
Just like the discipline to eat right and exercise regularly produces health, the discipline to devote time to studying the Bible creates a vibrant prayer life.
It’s about being devoted. Let me give you another example.
I love coffee. I wake up thinking about coffee. I make a pot immediately so it can brew while I get ready. As soon as I hear the magic beep, I pour a cup.
If we travel I scope out a coffee shop the night before. I want to know how and when I’m getting my coffee.
I seek coffee. I buy coffee. I love coffee. I’m legalistic about coffee.
THAT’S what I mean about the Word. It’s not checking a box. It’s being addicted to the Bible’s truth. It’s getting a headache if I don’t have it. It’s longing for it, craving it, and drinking deeply of it.
If your prayer life feel bleh-- there’s a solution. Find out how very amazing and powerful your Lord is by reading His Love Letter to you. It changes everything.
Quiet Time Ideas
Here’s some posts with ideas about Quiet Times.
This post has some reading plans and suggestions for getting started.
I list some of the many benefits of having a quiet time. Knowing WHY helps me keep going when I’d rather snuggle into bed and sleep for ten more minutes.
Here are some practical suggestions for getting started and keeping going.
Find a way that works for you and commit faithfully for a period of time. It doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else. It’s you and Jesus, not you and your neighbor.
And just start small. Could you have time in the Word every day for a week? Do it, give yourself a sticker each day, and then reward yourself.
Next try 10 days. 2 weeks. A month. Build the habit and reap the rewards.
For a period of time and friend and I would call each other each morning at 6:00 to be accountable to each other that we were up and in the Word. We both had small kids and if we didn’t get up before them, a quiet moment was impossible. But WE BOTH HAD SMALL KIDS— so 6:00 was tough. But we helped each other and in a few weeks it became a habit. And then we got addicted.
It’s just as addicting as coffee.
It builds spiritual health like spinach and yoga build physical health.
And it will teach you WHAT to pray. Your prayer life NEEDS a Quiet Time. Every day.
Share below your struggles to spend time in the Word.
What time of the day words best for you? What suggestions do you have for others to build a consistent time in the Bible every day?
How does reading the Bible effect your prayer life?