by Susan Dodson
William D. Barney once wrote, “At times, reading a book, I discover that I’m doing no such thing, but have drifted off the margin”. This can be true in our prayers too. How often have we sat down to pray and suddenly realized that we have wandered off the margins? Suddenly our to do list is flashing through our minds as we passively bow our heads in idle thought, instead of reverently bowing to the Creator of Heaven and Earth?
When Should I Pray?
Prayer is something that can be done at all times (Ephesians 6:18) or in communion with others (Acts 4:24) to request God’s powerful influence. But it should also be done on a regular basis alone with God. Just as Jesus regularly got away for quiet time with His Father, we too, should intentionally set aside time for deep, reflective, relational prayer.
But don’t be too quick to tell God our struggles and ask for a way out. Other dimensions of prayer can deepen our spiritual life and make room for His will to be done. When we take time to praise and worship Him, to thank Him, to wholeheartedly repent, and to affirm our commitment to obedience and trust, our struggles begin to turn into opportunities. Our disappointments dissolve into divine appointments. And our hearts begin to see the world from God’s perspective instead of our own. Our prayers begin to change us, reflecting His heart. Our love for Him becomes intimate, and our lives for Him become fruitful.
What Is My Focus?
Jesus’s public ministry was powered by His private times spent pouring His heart out to God. His circumstances didn’t change when He asked His Father “to take this cup from me”. Rather, He was strengthened to fulfill God’s purpose for His Life. Next time you sit down to pray, stay within the margins of His Will. Don’t focus on what God can do for you. Focus on what you can do for God. Grow in His grace and His knowledge to glorify Him. Then rejoice in His presence forever.
“The one thing I ask of the Lord-the thing I seek most- is to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”
Psalm 27:4 NLT