As I have slowly progressed in my own pilgrimage with God, I have found that the discipline of “prayer” stands out as one thing (of many) I am still trying to better understand, use and appreciate. The things I studied and read about prayer many years ago were mostly true, but why was I so slow to employ the wisdom of those that were so much further along, spiritually speaking, than I was? Where could I be today, in all regards of my existence, if I more enthusiastically had learned and practiced what I was told about prayer by men and women far wiser than me?
Well, for what it’s worth to younger folks that might listen and believe me, let me share one thing in particular I have learned to be effective and that makes all the difference in the world about prayer: Pray before work; pray before you speak; prayer before you make your major choices/decisions; pray before you send out the email or letter of rebuke; make all your efforts, throughout the day, a sacrifice for Him.
It’s hard to ask Him to bless the mess I have made by not dedicating it to Him first. It’s a lot harder to pray for a relationship that never should have happened, and that should have been prayed about before the relationship began. We ask God to bless us at the end of our day, or at the end or marriages, or where we are at during the last of our lives rather than as we began our days, or commence our most intimate relationships or prior to the inauguration of the decisions that will shape and effect our lives until the day we die.
I don’t count myself as a fully mature man of God, nor one who is even near the destiny of being “one with Christ”, in all that I do. But I do press on in my hope of knowing Him better and not losing the lessons and practices I have learned in my life that have made the difference. But it is a daily opportunity to put spiritual discipline into action or take a spiritual hiatus at my own peril. There is simply no vacation, weekend or holiday when it comes to spiritual exercise.
Just today, I got started on the wrong foot! I decided, inexplicably, to read a short text on my iPhone before my bible study and prayer, and I never could get back to the right mind-set. All day long what my eyes first read plagued my soul and I never seemed to shake that negative text off.
Good grief! I know better and don’t plan on letting that happen again! Seek Him first—the rest will fall into place during the day. A morning cup of coffee is just not enough…