Ding. You know that sound all too well. Your phone is talking to you again. It’s sending you a reminder. Maybe it’s a reminder to pick up an item at the grocery store. Or a deadline for a work assignment. Or an alert that tickets go on sale today for Lauren Daigle’s upcoming concert. Whatever the reminder is, the ding sound has your attention.
We live in a fast-paced world with lots of things vying for our attention. We feel like we barely have time to meet all of life’s demands. How could we add one more thing to our already way-too-busy schedule? So, when someone reminds us that “prayer is powerful,” we might agree, but how are we ever going to work praying into our schedule?
If you’re part of a church family, you’ve probably heard your minister deliver a sermon on the power of prayer. Even if you’re a new believer, you’ve probably been told how important it is to pray. So, why is it that prayer all too often is the one thing we forget to do?
Don’t feel too badly. We’re all guilty of this. And you know what, we’re in good company. One might say that even the disciples had a prayer problem. In fact, in the book of Mark we’re given a narrative. It’s just hours before Jesus is arrested. We can only imagine the weight he feels knowing the cross is close at hand. He takes time to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asks his disciples to wait with him. He tells Peter, James and John to “Stay awake and pray.” But what do they do? They fall asleep. Not once. Not twice. But three times.
Life is busy, and we get caught up in the items on our to-do list. So, the day gets away from us and we’ve forgotten to spend time with God – to pray. We commit to praying before bed. We have every good intention of praying when we lay our heads on our pillows that night. But before we know it, we have fallen asleep and prayer has alluded us once again.
In our story, the disciples find themselves in the exact same spot. Even though there are 2,000 years between them and us, some things haven’t really changed. Jesus looks at them and says, “Can’t you stay awake for just one hour?” He goes on to say, “You want to do what is right, but you are weak.”
I’d say that pretty much sums it up. We want to pray; we know we need to pray; but we get tired and worn out with too many things to do. And prayer just doesn’t happen like it should.
So, what do we do about this? There’s only one real solution. Make an appointment with God.
When you have a doctor’s appointment, you put it on your calendar, so you don’t forget. Or you set a reminder on your phone. It’s doesn’t have to be any different for prayer. Set a time. Make an appointment. Put a reminder in your phone. Your prayer doesn’t have to be long or complicated or filled with grand words. It just needs to be real. Genuine. Lay it all out there. You’re talking to the One who made you. To the one who loves you. He really doesn’t care if you say it perfectly. He just wants you to say it.
At the Russell School of Ministry, we have taken this advice ourselves. We’re putting our words into practice. Our team has a set appointment time with God. We bring our cares, frustrations, worries, appreciation and awe before our Heavenly Father. We lay it out there. Believe me, our words aren’t always graceful, but they’re real. And that’s all that matters to God.
So, give it a try. Make an appointment with God. When your reminder alerts you, stop what you’re doing and take your thoughts heavenward. If you’re driving, you can drive and pray. If you’re with a friend, ask them to pray with you. If you’re at the grocery store waiting in line for toilet paper, tell God how thankful you are for the people keeping food stocked on the shelves and the farmers who work long days to provide that food.
Prayer is indeed powerful. In the blink of an eye, you’re talking to the Creator of the universe, the Great Physician, and the Prince of Peace. He wants nothing more than to hear from His child – from you.
We want to hear from you too. If there is something on your heart, especially during this time of COVID-19 uncertainty, we would be happy to share your burden. We would consider it an honor to be able to pray for you. Just drop your prayer request in the link below.
We want you to know you’re not on this journey alone. We are here. And we have set a daily appointment time with God. A time we can be real with the One who already knows our problems, our hopes and our dreams, but is never too busy or too tired to hear about them.