The instructor’s voice was gentle and soothing as she explained the final stretches before the end of the workout. “These may be the only three minutes of quiet you have all day; so take this time to be still.” She walked to the back of the room and switched the lights off. The room was silent except for the music and the sound of her voice.
At first, every part of me wanted to jump to my feet and head out the door. After all, the clock was ticking away precious minutes and I had a list of chores calling me.
But I leaned back onto the blue foam mat alongside 20 other sweating, or should I say glowing, ladies in the Barre Class. Someone had given us permission—not just permission, but instruction—to hush and be still. In the following weeks, this became my favorite moment in the hour-long exercise class.
Those words sunk in: “the only minutes in your day you have to stop and be still.” So I’m thinking about prayer this morning. Listening and worshipping, praising and petitioning our Heavenly Father is, sadly for some, barely three minutes tagged on at the end of a busy day. Sigh…“Lord forgive me, bless me, and good night!” does not make for a rich prayer life.
How often we excuse ourselves, thinking these few moments are all we can afford to give. After all, who knows exactly how much time we devote to prayer, praise, and petition? We’d rather not know. But God does.
Now don’t jump up and head out the door just yet; it’s time to think about this for just a few more minutes. Why is it that we neglect to pray? I suspect most of us don’t pray because:
- We don’t think we have time.
- We don’t think it is important.
- We don’t believe that it makes any difference.
First of all, we do have the time! According a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, a Neilson Study reported that in 2010, Americans spend 63.5 billion minutes on social networks and blogs.1 How much time do you spend on social networks like Facebook? Another Nielson study indicates that an average Internet user spends 68 hours on the Internet per month, about 2 hours and 6 minutes per day. 3 I rest my case; we do have the time to pray. As someone put it recently, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”4
Secondly, prayer is necessary! We know that while He was on earth, Jesus was dependent on spending vital time in prayer with the Father. How much more should we? Hebrews 5:7 reveals the passionate prayer life of our Lord. During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission.
Before you think that you don’t need to take time to pray, think of the staggering defeat of the Israelite army when they went up to fight against the little city called Ai. Confident with victory over the mighty fortress of Jericho, they neglected to pray and consult the Lord before going to battle. Bold and careless, they were soundly defeated.
Lastly, prayer does make a difference! As Greg has often quoted, prayer is “not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done on earth.”3
Prayer’s not magic; it isn’t simply submitting a grocery list to God. Remember that our Father is in heaven and we are on earth. But as His children, we can be confident that He wants to bless, use, guide, and provide for us. Perhaps “you have not because you ask not.”
How’s is your prayer life? Don’t you realize that what breathing is to our physical lives, prayer is to our spiritual lives?
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
1Bernstein, E. (2011, January 11). Your blackberry or your wife. The Wall Street Journal, D1 & D4. (Also available via http://on.wsj.com/gXASsx)
2Warren, C. (2009, October 14). Average Internet user now spends 68 hours per month online. Mashable.com via http://tinyurl.com/linchikwok01122011