“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Jesus did not just teach about prayer…He prayed! I talked to a young man once about praying. He told me, “I tried it once and it doesn’t work.” It seemed his idea of prayer was putting money in a broken vending machine and waiting for candy that didn’t drop. Unfortunately, manmade religions reinforce the idea that prayer is simply a way of trying to get something from God. “If you just try hard enough, God might reward you.” Jesus taught us that prayer is living in relationship with God. If we have given our hearts to Jesus our Lord, we have the great honor of living in fellowship with Him all our days. But there’s a catch. It won’t be easy. The world around us is a hostile environment when it comes to prayer and knowing God. A case in point: our government even outlaws prayer in schools. This “anti-attitude” toward prayer requires us to walk against the winds of culture. But it’s worth it! From studying the life of Jesus, you discover prayer was both His habit and lifestyle. As children of God, we need to persevere when it comes to developing the habit of prayer. If we’re not careful, we can easily allow our schedule to fill up to the place where prayer seems irrelevant…becoming only a last-minute gasp to God when we’re in trouble. My encouragement to you today is to give yourself a chance to know God through a consistent, habitual prayer life. Set aside a time of the day when you’re not tired from the daily demands (morning works well for most people). Start with something realistic. Maybe you sit in God’s presence alone for an uninterrupted 10 to 15 minutes. You can grow from there, but you need to at least get started. Guard your time with God! Push yourself to do this even when your emotions don’t cooperate. If you stay with this, a beautiful godly habit develops where prayer becomes natural and personal. Remember, the greatest thing about prayer is getting to know and become like Jesus! Give yourself a chance.
Pastor Mark Boucher