Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians5: 16 & 17
When I attended Johnson Bible College, I had the privilege of being taught by a prayer warrior. This professor, older by the standards of the majority of the faculty, was an amazing man of prayer. It was not uncommon to walk along the loop at the college and see him standing in the back yard, white hair glistening in the sun, head bowed, hands behind his back. He believed in conversation, true and continued conversation with the Father.
His devotion to this quiet time impressed me when there was a campus wide prayer vigil. Students signed up for fifteen minute prayer times which continued around the clock for a full weekend. My prayer time was 10:00 p.m. and when I arrived, he was there. The chapel was quiet and lights were offering a soft glow off the stained glass windows. He pulled the list of student names and marked me present.
“How long have you been here?” I asked assuming he was taking the night watch for student protection.
“All day.” He whispered.
“All day? When do you go home?”
“Tomorrow night, when we’re finished.”
“Good grief. Aren’t you tired?”
“Yes. But it’s fine because if a student misses their prayer watch, then I step in and fill the gap. I don’t want the vigil to be broken.”
That was dedication.. I learned a great deal from his example. What I saw was something my own life desired – a deeper, more abiding relationship with the Father. The only way to achieve that was to commit to it and learn to talk to God anytime, about anything –continually. It took a long time to learn to pray frequently – in fact, to take the act seriously. Often, saying we’ll pray for someone good Christian lip service. But to follow through…..that’s hard.
Like anything we chose to do, practice makes us better. Am I where I should be in my prayer life? By the standards of my professor – no, but I’m learning. It becomes easier to talk to God when we make the effort, especially when Satan tries to distract us. Take your relationship with the Father seriously. Develop it by spending time talking to Him. Prayer doesn’t have to be formal it simply has to be that necessary conversation with our Father.
So this morning I asked the Father, “You there? It’s 5:15 a.m.”
“Been here all night.” He replied.
“Don’t you ever rest – get tired of waiting on me while I sleep?”
“Nope.” The Father pulled me close and kissed my head. “I love talking to you. Look forward to it.”
“I understand that. But don’t you get tired?”
“No. Never. I listen constantly in case you need something. I listen for all my children. The problem is few of them talk. The more you talk, the clearer you see me.”
Though I’m sure, I’ll never understand God completely, He is right. The more I talk with him, the clearer I see Him. His appearance is only limited by my imagination, but I see Him everywhere I am. He is with me when I walk, when I work, and when I write. And I am relaxed in His presence, comfortable to tell him anything. He doesn’t give me everything I ask for when I pray. Sometimes He simply provides comfort, however He hears every word I speak. And He doesn’t suffer from selective hearing. So I keep talking. After all, praying is just talking.
“No.” the Father interrupted. “Praying is everything.”