Pastoral Perspectives

Take Time to Pray

We have time for almost anything except prayer. Is this true of you? We have become too busy not to pray. Every time, we want to pray, something will crop up. It is not something we incline to do though we know its importance. Knowledge is one thing but practice is still another. It is clear that we should pray but do we make time for it?

A deliberate effort, an intentional discipline, is required to see something happening in a Christian’s Prayer Life. A professed Christian cannot ignore such an important aspect in his life. He has to place this discipline in his schedule intentionally. When it becomes part of his schedule, it is easier to accomplish and see definite results. Jesus, his master, has set a vivid example for him to follow and he has to do likewise since he is a disciple of Jesus Christ. In Mark 1:35, it is written that, “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.” The time to pray has become part of our Lord Jesus’ schedule. Nobody needs to remind Him to pray or tell Him to do so. It is in His schedule to pray and it is also His passion to pray. After a busy day of ministering to the people, Jesus also deliberately went to a place to pray. In Matthew 14:23, it is written that, “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.” The busier we are, the more we need to take time to pray, that is, to carve out time for prayer!

In order to develop such a personal prayer life, time has to be set aside to practise this discipline. If a disciple of Jesus wants to see quality in his prayer life, he has to take time to pray. He cannot embark on it hurriedly. Neither can he do it just to fulfill a duty or a task. If he just skims through it, it does not mean anything to him. When he deliberately gives priority in his life to prayer, he will enjoy it and be fervent in it. The time to pray does not have to be long but has to be substantiated. It just has to be focus. Your purpose of having time for prayer is to delight in God and to engage with God in an intimate relationship.

As for me, I have found such a time very refreshing. I started having “time set aside to pray” during the past two months. I was able to commune with God regarding my life, my ministry, my family, my struggles, my emotions and my friends, that is, almost anything. Jesus is my best friend whom I can freely confide in. God delights to hear our prayers and even answer them. This gives me the great incentive to pray. I pour out my heart before the Almighty God and He heard my prayers. In Psalm 62:8, it is written that, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” This Bible verse will spur you to action. Come to God often in prayer because you trust in Him and also because He is your refuge. I come to the realisation that I need to take time to pray. I cannot afford to go through life day after day, week after week, month after month, without communing with God through prayer. I will be running with “empty tank” if I do so. I will soon be suffering from “burnt out”. Then, that will be too late!

With God’s grace and help, I begin to weave this discipline of prayer in my daily schedule. The moment I reach the church office, I would pause for a moment of prayer to commit my work and myself to God, trusting Him to lead and direct me. At the end of the work day, I would enter into God’s presence for a period of time in prayer. I even get my prayer partner who is my mentee, to pray for me that I will be able to slow down and turn to God in prayer. When it is time to pray, I have to intentionally put aside my work and look to God through prayer. If I do not make time for my loving Heavenly Father, I will forfeit the joy of having an intimate relationship with Him. All my life and ministry will be in vain and unfruitful.

“Take time to pray” places God at the centrality of my life and ministry. Focusing on God deepens my faith in Him and enhances my walk with God. I would strongly encourage all of us to give some thoughts to this discipline of prayer. The moment you begin putting this discipline in your schedule, you will never regret it but instead you will rejoice in what God is going to work in your life through prayer. You will then be spared from living an unfruitful and wasted life! So, let us take time to pray!

Preacher George Ang

September 7, 2014