When my husband and I were engaged, I remember countless people offering us marriage advice. Some good and some bad, but nonetheless lots of advice flooded our way. One particular piece of wisdom that we seemed to hear a lot was “communication is key; always talk things through”. This is one of those things that you know to be true in your head, but the knowledge must transfer to your heart to make any lasting difference. Over the past three wonderful years of marriage that we’ve had, that one piece of advice has proven to be so helpful and so true. Without good, healthy communication, our relationship would be nothing and headed nowhere good. I mean, what good relationship do you know of that exists without communication? There isn’t one. It just can’t be.
So, when we think about our relationship with God and wonder why we don’t feel close to Him or question where He is at in the midst of our circumstances, shouldn’t we take this into consideration? “Communication is key – always talk things through.” Could you define your relationship with God as one that is close and deeply connected? Do you regularly practice the discipline of prayer: speaking and listening? Ponder this question for a moment: what would someone learn about God by listening to your prayers? Does your prayer life reflect a small, insignificant God that is powerless to meet your needs? Do your prayers suggest a God that is detached and removed from the world and its problems? Or do your prayers display a God who is great in power, mighty to save, near to the brokenhearted and rises to show compassion to His children? Think about it. Because the frequency and the content of our prayers do reflect how we view God.
Just as every good marriage takes hard work, a strong and growing relationship with Christ requires the discipline of prayer. Yes, discipline; at least, that’s how it starts. Make a daily choice to discipline your time in order to prioritize prayer. You’ll be amazed at how quickly a discipline can turn into desire. I still remember how I felt when I signed up to run my first ½ marathon. Doubt and fear plagued my mind as I thought about the rigorous training that was ahead of me. How was I ever going to be able to run 13.1 miles when I had never even run 5 miles at one time? When I started my training plan, it was grueling and difficult. There were many times I wanted to just throw in the towel and quit. What completely amazed me though was the transformation that took place after a few weeks of training. I began to look forward to my runs, and when I was running, I was finding myself enjoying it! I was shocked, but as I continued to train, I loved it more and more. When race day finally came, the excitement was almost more than I could bear. My 13.1 mile run that day was filled with moments of joy and even worship as I praised the Lord for giving me the ability to accomplish something I once thought impossible.
The more often I pray, the more often I find myself desiring times of prayer. Once we’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good, we will want more of Him. As we grow in our desire for prayer, it begins to blossom into delight. Our times of prayer become a treasure to us that brings fulfillment and lasting joy. This is when prayer becomes a lifestyle. To pray without ceasing doesn’t seem to be such an impossibility anymore because we are regularly drawn to sweet times of prayer with the Lord. We long to be in communication with Him, to speak and to listen. I don’t know about you, but I long to be a woman who is found on her knees at His feet.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18 NIV