Prayer ought to be regular and daily. We need prayer every day like we need daily meals and daily sleep. But just as a car requires an oil change and a tune up once in a while, it is essential for every Christian to also have extended, special prayer times so that he can take a longer, deeper look at God and at himself—in order to tune up his life. Daily prayers are good and necessary to prepare us for each day and to guide us through the day. But sometimes we get in a rut. We do things just out of habit. We pray the same old way. We ask God for the same things. We take the same amount of time to pray, at the same time of the day, in the same place. Prayer sometimes gets to be a drag, and we wonder if we should do something different. We even wonder if we are praying in the Spirit, or if we are just praying the same words that we always pray out of habit.
An extended prayer time will help. It will help you to see God clearer and to better know His ways and His will. It will help you to get a better look at yourself, to see if you are going in His direction. It will be a time to look to God for refreshment and rest. It will also be a time to catch up on prayer. An extended time will give you the required time to pray for all the things that you had wanted to pray for but just couldn’t seem to find the time. Yes, it will be a time to really labor in prayer—and out of it will come refreshment.
I have found that the more I pray and really work at prayer, the more I am refreshed and at peace. That is because when we pray and trust God for everything (for every little thing) He assures us by His Spirit that He has heard our prayers and that He will take care of us. This peace (assurance) we feel in prayer is the Holy Spirit working in us, keeping us strong and protecting our hearts from doubts and fears. (Doubts and fears are normal for us in our unredeemed flesh, but they are also from the devil; many of the fiery darts talked about in Ephesians 6:16 I think are darts of anxiety and fear, which the devil and his demons are constantly throwing at us.)
These things can be overcome by much prayer. By prayer we build up our faith. By much prayer God comes to our aid and puts up around us a protecting shield of faith and peace. Philippians 4:6 and 7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving , let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Okay, let’s say you agree that you need more prayer; that it would be good to have some extended, special prayer time. How do you go about it? In the next few posts I will give you some ideas.