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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Couldn't You Even Watch With Me For One Hour?

A few weeks ago, finding myself with just 15 minutes to prepare a message I decided to speak on prayer. One of the passages I referred to was Matt 6:36-45. The Lord Jesus is praying in Gethsemane and seeking the support of His disciples who are woefully lacking in their prayers. At the heart of this passage is the Lord's question, "couldn't you even watch with me for one hour?"

I made an off-the-cuff remark about the inability of most of us to spend and hour in prayer. An hour of prayer seems a huge leap from the 10 minutes of prayer I mentioned last week. Most people would baulk at the idea.

There are probably three main reasons why the thought of praying for an hour is just too much for many Christians.

Time
People don't know where in their daily schedule they are going to find an extra hour for anything. But I've discovered something amazing. Our heavenly Father blesses everyone with the same number of hours in the day - 24. Highly productive people such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Billy Graham all have the same amount of time available to them as we do each day. It's just that some people use their time more wisely than others. If you had to find an extra hour in the day to cope with some emergency, you could find it. Here are some ideas for how to find that extra hour. Give up an hour of TV each day; get up an hour earlier; reassess the time you spend on various chores.

Past Experience
Many don't have a positive experience of prayer. Prayer, when it's functioning properly is an intimate relationship between the believer and their Lord. The communication is supposed to be two-way. It's not simply about taking our requests to God, it's also about hearing Him speak to us and enjoying His company. Why is it that some Christians don't have this fulfilling experience in prayer? It's quite simple. It takes time to develop a relationship, and it cannot be done simply by rushing into the throne room with our petitions and then rushing out again. The writer to the Hebrews says, "he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him," (Heb 11:6 KJV). God reserves the reward of the experience of His presence to those who are willing to take the time to seek Him out.

Feeling Inadequate
Many people just don't know what on earth they are going to do in prayer for a whole hour. My personal experience is that there have been phases of my Christian life when I found it easy to spend lengthy times in prayer and other periods where prayer has been almost non-existent. I am indebted to the friend who lent me a tape entitled, "The Hour That Changes The World" by Dick Eastman. If you think you can't pray for an hour you need to get hold of the book. It will transform your life. It provides an outline to structure your prayer life. Could you spend 5 minutes a day praising God? Could you pray for others for 5 minutes every day? If you can, then you can spend an hour a day in prayer.

Prayer College Assignment
Get hold of a copy of "The Hour That Changes The World" by clicking on the link below.

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