If you are having trouble carving out time with God amidst a busy schedule you’re not alone. Life is very busy for most of us, and I can attest that it can sometimes get the best of me. That can mean I don’t always get the time in the morning or evening to pray as I need or desire. My spirit may be very willing, but my flesh is weak.
I want to talk about the reality of having a powerful and effective prayer life with God in the very center of an overwhelming and busy schedule. It can be done.
Let’s begin by looking at the life of Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ Prayer Life
When I look at the life of my Lord, He lived in the midst of throngs. He was hard pressed with the needs of many desperate people. He carried the burden of the masses, was encumbered with teaching His disciples and settling their disputes and temptations. He walked miles upon miles between cities and townships, and was harassed by the Pharisees and religious leaders. He had to escape death traps when they attempted to lay hold of Him, and He had to battle daily temptations just like you and I. In all these things He made it very clear that He did only what His Father told Him to do, and spoke only what He heard His Father say. He had to stay on point. How did He do that?
Jesus demonstrated the desperate need to carve out time with His Father in the midst of a very pressing daily agenda. He often got up early before sunrise and spent time alone with His Father. I truly believe this is ideal, and this is something that is a disciplined act. It doesn’t happen accidentally. We have to make deliberate room. Because I will be the first to confess: I will sleep as long as possible.
But we are human, aren’t we?
Navigating Real Life with Effective and Powerful Prayer
As a practicing RN I know all too well what it’s like to be up before sunrise. From door to door I generally get one meal a day, and I’m on my feet the majority of the time. When I’m nursing critically ill patients I have to be on point and in the game. By the time I get home I need a shower, some nourishment, a soft bed, and spiritual rest as well — so I can be ready to get up the next morning to do it all over again. I bet many of you can say the same if you’re in a demanding profession. You may feel like you’re living in a revolving door, burning the proverbial candle at both ends.
What do we do?
Although I may want to have that time carved out for God, it’s just not there the way I need it to be or would like it to be. And here’s what I’m going to tell you:
Because Jesus also demonstrated another prayer life we all need to learn and develop: the constant communion with God that keeps us on point.
What it Means to Pray Without Ceasing
God does not package Himself incrementally. You can have quality time with Him throughout your day by learning to pray effectively in all things as they happen. You can keep that communication flow open regardless of what you’re doing, where you are, or who you’re with.
We all have places to go, things to do, and people to see. Life can be overwhelming and demanding. Life can throw us curve balls that bring wreckage. Being able to carve out large chunks of time with God every morning and evening is absolutely wonderful! And if you can manage that– Great! But that is not always a realistic goal. The demands and stressors are extraordinary at times. So, we must be able to learn that God is with us all day long, holding our hands and our hearts as we live our lives, just as He’s there all night long watching over us as we sleep. He does not grow weary as we do. He does not let go or disconnect based on stressors. He is always ready to engage with us. Sometimes He will even awake us in the middle of the night to speak to us or have us pray. He will lovingly initiate that sacred time with us just so to be alone with Him. When He does, don’t miss it! Learn to respond, or you may miss something very vital.
But again, being able to pray throughout the day; keeping that consistent flow of prayer– it takes practice. God is not looking for eloquence or articulation. He’s looking for authenticity. There were times when Jesus would even lift up His voice in the crowd to address His Father, and there were a few times His Father responded so audibly the crowds were able to hear Him! That is the kind of communication we can have with God. Not that we expect God to audibly respond, but we certainly don’t need to be in our bedroom on our knees to pray effectively or powerfully. We can be in the midst of crowds knowing our Father will respond to us!
Powerful prayer is staying connected with God in our thoughts and in the motivations of our hearts throughout the day. We acknowledge Him in all that we do and say. We stay in communion with Him. We are speaking, listening, and receiving His instructions and guidance. When we do this, we are able to stay on point even as Jesus did.
Keeping It Real
Please don’t feel guilty or condemned if you are overwhelmed with life and are struggling to carve out that intimate and isolated time with God the way you need or want. There is NO condemnation here. This is not a pass or fail. That’s not what this is about. If you are able to create that intimate time, that’s wonderful! But if not, please know that you are like many others who grow tired, weary, and are in need of legitimate rest. There are obligations that won’t wait. The Lord understands all these things. He has lived that kind of life. And He has demonstrated for us how to navigate it successfully.
God gives rest and sleep to His beloved, and He is not a harsh taskmaster. He is the bearer of our burdens. He desires you to be well-rested as much as He desires you to be productive for Him. He knows your frame, and just as He is able to strengthen you when you need it — He’s also able to give you rest as well.
Take heart! Know that you can have a powerful and effective prayer life throughout the day with God as you commune with Him in your heart. Those arrow prayers are powerful! They hit the mark in ways that would astonish you. And your heart can utter things your mind or mouth can’t easily articulate. He hears and understands it ALL. Your Father will respond to you! He will speak. He will act.
So stay on point. Keep it real. And remember, when there is nothing else you can utter, just say His name. He’s right there holding your hand through it all.
Stay encouraged and keep praying!
Cheers & Shalom,
Image Credit: TimHill | Pixabay