There is a recurring theme running through my mind lately in regard to my personal prayer life. Am I filled with zeal and fervor? I am not aware of any particular incident that has generated this repeated thought to fill my mind. However, I am trusting that it is the grace of God calling me forth into a deeper experience of love. The question that I am asking myself is a simple one. Is my prayer life truly fervent or is it one where I am going through the motions?
We are given a glimpse of Jesus as He prayed before his passion and death. The intensity and fervor are evident as we are told that his sweat fell to the ground as drops of blood. Jesus was fully engaged with His prayer. There is much we can learn from His example. I frequently walk while I am praying. Other times I sit in a comfortable chair. Sometimes I lay in bed while praying. What role does posture play in our prayer life? How do I experience true fervor? How do I stay focused and root out distractions? Quite honestly, how do I love God in these moments of prayer?
We pursue many things in life. When I was young I wanted to excel in sports so I practiced for hours on a daily basis. In the secular adult world I wanted to be good at many things. Thus, I studied a vast array of subjects and continue to do so even today. I want to understand the world of business and politics and the social ramifications of these particular arenas of life. I have studied rhetoric and public speaking to be effective at communicating a message. These are all good things, but it does lead to another question. How much time and energy have I invested in learning how to pray well?
Earl Nightingale said many years ago that one hour per day of study in your chosen field is all it takes. One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do. I have seen many people pursue their chosen careers and profession with that level of intensity. Subsequently, they are very good at what they do.
Now, let us re-frame the discussion. How many Christians are there who have dedicated that kind of time and energy to become faithful followers of Christ? Do we have a desire to be an authority when it comes to having a thorough knowledge of our faith? Do we have a desire to be an expert at prayer based upon the definition given by Earl Nightingale? That is, are we willing to invest an hour a day for five years in prayer to see where that leads us? I am not talking about simply praying with our lips. I am talking about genuine and heartfelt prayer. Can you imagine the change we would experience in our lives if we devoted that kind of time to grow our relationship with God Our Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit?
The call to faithfulness beckons each one of us. It will require a solid prayer life if we hope to live up to that call. With God all things are possible. Are we willing to open our hearts and minds in such a way that the grace of God can fully work within us? Are we willing to be people of fervent prayer?