The single most important activity in my life is the time I spend alone with God.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
To make prayer a priority in your life, you must take into account these four things:
1. Devotion to prayer means you don't just say, "Well, I've done that." And go on to the next thing. The Bible makes it very clear, it is the devotion, that commitment… you don't pray always expecting instant answers. He doesn't say everything is going to be automatic.
God checks our faith. He looks at our hearts. And He says, "Let me see your devotion." How serious are they about this. Because if God is working on your prayer, He is working on you. And He begins to move. So He says devote yourself, get committed to, persevere in prayer. And there is another key word - it is diligence.
2. Diligence means to concentrate; keep your mind on it; pray until the answer comes. Praying until the answer comes - that was the attitude of the church.
Now remember, prayer is the expected, essential activity of all believers. Don't expect to grow in Christ; don't expect to see your Red Sea parted, until you start to take up the practice of regular prayer. And then watch what God will do.
3. Time: Set aside a period, a time to pray. If you're serious about seeing answers in your life, about growing in God, about knowing Him in refreshing, wonderful ways, set aside a period of time to pray. You and I have instant access into God's presence when we pray. Instant access when we take the time to seek Him.
Ask yourself, what other things am I putting before prayer as my priority. Set aside a period of time. We are talking about a God to move, the ability to change, the ability to transform. We can pray anywhere, but He also wants you to find a place. Let me tell you why. Jesus had a place - Gesthemene. Judas knew where Jesus was to be betrayed because he knew Jesus would often go there to pray. There needs to be a place.
4. Have a plan. Not only should you set aside the time, but what are your prayer priorities. (Church, Family, etc.)
As you plan for what God calls for us to pray/say, the enemy will try everything he can to keep you off your knees. Prayer is not a rabbit's foot; it's a lifestyle. And when it becomes a priority you start to lead and live that life that the Bible says, "abundantly, fulfilling."
A. When you give God priority there is a personal, more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ that develops.
B. What you'll see is the perspective of Who God is. The perspective of Who God is changes. You are able to look at things and experience His presence, His strength, His power; you're able to look at issues or individuals that would, in the past, trouble you. Your perspective changes.
C. You will begin to experience a positive faith or life attitude. All of us have a measure of faith the Bible says, that fades becomes far more positive. You are able to see God in situations that others buckle under. You are able to recognize that God is in this and it is because you have met with the Author and Finisher of our faith. You begin to trust God like never before and that is a marvelous thing.
D. He does a purifying process in my heart. A purifying process takes place in your life and your heart and you sense God changing who you are. It's like being a little plant being pulled up and planted in a bigger pot. And that little plant is in shock but it knows where it's at is a great place to be. And so it begins to purify that life. There is an inner desire for right culture. God Purify my heart.
E. Passion for obedience. This is what the Bible calls walking in the Spirit. And in that time with God with prayer as a priority, there is a passion to obey Him, there is a purifying agent that comes and makes your desire to be pleasing to Him.
F. There is a reliance on God for His provision as you see those needs, you begin and I begin to see needs answered.
G. When you make prayer a priority this is the pathway to spiritual growth. Pathway to my spiritual growth. Time spent continually with Him, regularly with Him, causes growth almost immediately.
H. Productivity in my life. Your life becomes, the Bible word for it is fruitful. Productivity in my life. There is fruitfulness in your family, your career,relationships, witness, spiritual life.
James R. O'Leary