Originally published March 10, 2016
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been following a daily emphasis for prayers. I’m copying a dead preacher who had a really good ministry during his life. Can’t remember his name right now, but anyway, the daily emphases are as follows:
Monday – Special Devotion. Tuesday – Spread of the Gospel. Wednesday – Kingdom of Christ. Thursday – Self Denial. Friday – Examination & Confession. Saturday – Intercession. Sunday -Church & Outpouring of the Spirit.
Let’s just say this discipline has been nothing less than fantastic, though fantastic has a different definition for different days. Like today, Thursday, Self-Denial day. The ‘fantastic’ of today can be pretty rough at first, but liberating. Bottom-line, this discipline grants focus. My prayer life is weak often for two reasons: Lack of focus, and lack of direction (which are kind of similar, but different).
Lack of focus is because we live in an A.D.D. culture where the tyrannical urgent robs us of mental clarity. Prayer is tough because as soon as our minds are calm, some unwanted “to-do” comes in our head and we’re sent scrambling out of the prayer closet and into the clamor of another crazy day.
Lack of direction is when my mind is focused but I end up praying for the same things and sound like a broken record repeating “Father God” and “Lord” a bazillion times because I really don’t know what to pray for.
When I only have one thing to pray about for the day, I have direction. And most often when I have direction, I have focus.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
I think our greatest need as disciples is to learn the art of being still. We need stillness in our hearts. But we first need stillness of our minds.
This is my precious little boy looking out an open window this morning. He stood there for ten minutes, wide-eyes full of wonder, as he just listened to the symphony of songbirds on this still morning.
The Lord desires such a heart in us.
Feel free to try the daily focus for prayers. I know it helps me. Whatever the case, do whatever it takes to find focus and direction in your prayers. There is nothing like sitting in the presence of our Lord, hearing his gentle and fierce voice speak truth. So be still and listen.
Be sure of one thing though, in the busyness of this life, you will have to fight for stillness.
Focusing my daily prayers on one thing helps me to fight. In my set-apart time for prayer, I can focus. I sit in prayer longer. And in through the course of my day, I find myself prayer more often. Whatever you do, find something that helps you fight for stillness. The fight for stillness is the fight for joy. So fight!