"And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed." Mark 1:35
Well, how did you do last week? How much time did you commit to God's Word and how faithful were you in that commitment? As you read this, only you and the Lord know the answer. Be honest with yourself, and be honest with others when they ask. Continue working to do your best in the study of God's Word!
This week, as the verse above may have indicated to you, I want to challenge us in the area of prayer. The reading and studying of God's Word and prayer are of equal importance to our life as a follower of Jesus, as a Christian. The Bible tells us that the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. The Lord tells us to come to Him in prayer with our petitions and requests. Throughout the Bible, we see God do incredible things as His people come before Him in prayer. Just as reading the Bible can be intimidating because we don't know what to read, prayer can leave us feeling intimidated because we don't know what to pray. The reality, though, is that you can literally pray for anything, anytime, anywhere. God's Word teaches us that, while we can pray for anything, the result of prayer is only accomplished when sin is absent (Psalm 66:18), when our motives are pure (James 4:3), and when it is according to God's will (1 John 5:14).
This week's challenge: begin forming regular prayer habits that will lead to a life of prayer. In the verse above Jesus woke up early and got alone to pray. Maybe some of you will do this. It's a great practice to wake up early and thank the Lord for a new day of life and ask for his help and guidance through the day ahead. Others may end the day with a prayer of thanks for God sustaining them through their day while seeking his protection over them as they sleep. For someone, maybe this will be a simple prayer of thanks before a meal, as you remember that God provided that meal. There is a prayer meeting every Wednesday night that you could come to and be encouraged in your prayer life, while praying with other believers. Some of you might do every single one of these and more, which is great! Really, the options for how you could start a prayer life by forming regular prayer habits is limitless, especially since God has made it possible for us to pray at all times (Ephesians 6:18).
Through time in His Word and drawing close in prayer, God begins forming our view of Him in new and incredible ways. Our life is strengthened against sin and our motives become pure in what we are praying for, since we our praying for God's will. We then become more easily aligned with God's will as our hearts and minds are tuned more closely to the heart and mind of Christ. I could go on and on. Prayer is such a big subject and a key component of our life with Christ. For now, remember your commitment to time in God's Word and begin forming regular prayer habits. There are people ready to help you with these things! We all need guidance, please reach out if we can help you!
Grace & Peace,
(You can reach Pastor John at email@example.com)