How strong is your God connection? I can always tell when I have slacked off my daily prayer routine. My life is a complete mess. My stress level is running high and everything no matter how small gets on my nerves. My beloved husband, my beautiful dog, the lateness of the garbage pick-up. Every area of life is torturous. Its feels like nails scratching against a blackboard.
I find myself loosing things. Like the bracelet, my husband purchased for me on our first trip to Florida. My Fitbit, which was on my wrist one minute and gone the next. When did I take it off? Where’s Winston’s leash? Oh, there it is, connected to his collar. Everything in my life is off track when I forget to nurture my prayer life. Nothing is quite right, it’s a little left of center. I am angry, misplacing, losing, and forgetting things because I am not entirely present in my life. Prayer does that for me; it keeps me grounded and connected to my world.
A glance at my scripture and prayer journal shows a two-month lapse, and then it dawns on me-that my connection to the Almighty is at best 10 percent. Much like the power on my laptop because I can’t find the power cord. It is sure to shut down soon. Prayer is one of those things you really can’t let lapse. Not if you want to fight evil, make wise choices, or just remain sane in the midst of chaos.
It took me some time to realize that having a daily conversation with God was a non-negotiable tenet of my Christian journey. At the beginning of our relationship, I talked to God all the time. Morning, noon, and night, I lifted my prayers and praises up to him. I couldn’t get enough of him. Then like what happens in most relationships, I started taking him for granted. I was married with five children, taking care of a home, and scheduling activities for my volunteer work. Pushing him to the bottom of my “to do” list or, cramming in a quickie prayer to assuage my guilt just seemed like all I could do at the time.
Then life happened. I got divorced. I was afraid and lonely. I felt lost. I was looking at the faces of my children who were looking to me for the right answers. I ran back to God realizing that I needed his protection. I needed to feel his love. I needed to feel the joy of connection. Of course, he was there waiting with arms open wide ready to shelter his little girl from the storm.
I wish I could tell you that -that was one of the few times that my prayer life collapsed. But, to be honest, like most people I find that my fervent prayers to God end when the disaster is over. Do you find this happening with you? Do you pray non-stop in the midst of trouble only to take a deep breath of relief when it’s over, and go back to your usual routine?
The problem with that is what my late pastor, Pastor Clemons, use to call taking withdraws without making deposits. Our spiritual account becomes in danger of experiencing an overdraft. That may sound like a religious cliché,’ but it’s the truth. Prayer is not only how we communicate with God it is how we establish a connection. Each prayer represents a deposit of time into creating a relationship that is built on a firm foundation.
It is this relationship that enables us to stand against evil and stand firm in the midst of trouble. The bible says in 1 John 5: 14 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” This kind of confidence only comes if we do what Jesus advises in Luke 18:1” always pray and not faint.” Our spiritual strength is only as strong as our connection to God. Without him, we are like sheep waiting to be slaughtered. Don’t get slaughtered.
I want to share with you three tips that have kept me in sync with our Dad. First, I schedule my prayer time. It is the third thing I do when I hop out of bed each morning. First, I wash my face and brush my teeth. Because you don’t want to go to the Lord with bad breath. Right! Prayer starts my day, that does not mean that you cannot pray outside of your scheduled time. I find myself talking to God all day and listening for his response.
The second thing I like to do is write down my prayers. There’s something about looking in my journal and rereading a prayer entry that brings me joy. Writing them down makes them solid and real. Don’t panic. I am not asking you to write a short essay. Just two or three sentences and a scripture to pray and meditate on during your time with God. The third tip, which I find is lost on many of us, me included. Is to listen. Prayer is a two-way communication with God. You should not be doing all the talking all the time. Wisdom is born in silence.
To recap, here are the tools for a healthier prayer life:
Schedule a time to pray each day.
Write down your prayers in a journal.
Listen for God’s voice. Don’t do all the talking.
Lest we forget, we are at war. Prayer prepares us for battle and defeats the Enemy. Without prayer, the relationship you believe you have with God is only a figment of your imagination. Don’t wait until disaster strikes. Start building or rebuilding your relationship with God today. There is no time like the present to start.