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Friday, March 23, 2007

Is The Clock Ticking On Your Prayer Time?

We've compared the idea of church leaders spending a paltry 10 minutes a day in prayer with the concept of consecrating an hour each day for prayer. But is time the most important thing? Certainly, it's not the case that God answers lengthy prayers more willingly than short ones. I personally have found that single word prayers such as, "HELP!" can be particularly effective!

How Long?
We must not get hung up on counting the minutes we spend on our knees. Being a Christian is about having a relationship with the Lord Jesus. We need our moments of personal intimacy with Him which are ours alone, but an equally important part of the relationship is how we live with the Lord outside of the prayer closet.

Abraham's Prayer
Having said that, I want to repeat something I mentioned a few weeks ago when we looked at Abraham pleading with God for the lives of the people of Sodom (Gen 18:20-33). Abraham stood before God and repeatedly asked Him to spare Sodom for the sake of any righteous people living there - will you also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Abraham seemed to be negotiating with God as he repeated his request time and again, until He agreed He would not destroy Sodom for the sake of ten righteous people. The boldness of Abraham is worthy of consideration, but what I find most fascinating about this passage is that it was not Abraham who ended the conversation. It was God (v33). Only when God had finished with Abraham did Abraham return from the place of prayer.

Rewards of Prayer
So the answer to the question, "how long should I pray?" is not a specific length of time. We should pray until the Lord has finished His dealings with us. There are no gold stars for praying for two hours if all God has to say to us today is, "go and tell your neighbour about me." Equally, we must be wary of rushing away from the Lord’s presence when He has more for us. In our culture it is extremely hard to find space to give the Lord an open ended time. We have responsibilities with work and family that the Lord has given us and which should not be neglected. On most days we will be limited with our time. The Lord knows this and will honour us for giving the time we have. But we can find space sometimes to give extended time to the Lord and the blessings which will flow from that are inexpressible.

A Challenge
As we come to our times of prayer we are accountable to no-one but the Lord. There is no competition here to see who can spend the longest time in prayer. The challenge is for each of us to get our personal devotional life in tune with the Lord’s specific will for us.

Prayer College Assignment Ask the Lord what one thing you can do to improve your personal prayer times and expect an answer.

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