March 5 I Monday
“The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” —Psalm 145:18
Weddings are exciting occasions to celebrate the love a couple has for each other as they commit to spending the rest of their lives together. But imagine after all the pomp and circumstance of a wedding, the groom turns to his bride and says, “Today was great, but I have to run. I’m going to a ballgame with the guys tonight and won’t be home till late!”
The next morning, he turns over in bed and says to his new bride, “Oh, right! I have a wife now! Sorry, I forgot. By the way, I’ll be gone all day, but I’ll see you this evening…hopefully.” The next morning, he says something similar and this goes on for a few months. How do you think this couple would describe their marriage? No doubt, they would agree it is dull, pointless and has not changed anything.
The Christian life is a relationship with God, but how often do we treat it like the marriage relationship just described? There is an initial joy and excitement after first becoming a Christian, but slowly and subtly, spending time with God becomes something we quickly slot into our busy lives. We may say a quick catch-all prayer before our head hits the pillow at night, thanking God for taking care of us today, and asking Him to bless our families and missionaries too. This would amount to no more than a minute of our entire day talking to God. If that is the state of our prayer lives, no wonder our relationship with God feels dull and dry.
In Bill Hybels’s book Too Busy Not to Pray, he says that for 20 years he had not taken time to pray with any discipline or regularity, but things changed when he began to structure his life so there was time to pray. He writes, “The greatest fulfillment has not been the list of miraculous answers to prayer I’ve received, although that has been wonderful. The greatest thrill has been the qualitative difference in my relationship with God, and when I started to pray, I didn’t know that was going to happen.”
Relationships only work if there is communication. Almost every time a relationship falls apart it is because of a communication breakdown. This is why prayer is so vitally important. It is one of the primary ways we come to know God intimately, which inevitably strengthens and deepens our relationship with Him. Prayer is oxygen for the soul and when we diligently spend time in prayer, we also will begin to notice qualitative differences in our relationship with God, one of them being that we grow more and more eager for our time alone with Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for treating prayer as an afterthought. I want to grow closer to You, and ask that You grant me the discipline to spend regular time in prayer. Thank You, God.