Writing in response to this week’s challenge, this guest blogger reflects on the struggle and the joy of regular, disciplined prayer.
Ever since I became a Christian, the discipline of prayer, particularly in the morning, has been encouraged by my church, the example of my parents and, of course, Jesus (Mark 1:35). Initially, seeing it as boring and simply another ‘religious’ exercise, I was a reluctant follower, but gradually I have come to treasure the 10-15 minutes I spend praying each morning – sometimes a little wearily. Normally I wake-up and proceed to have a shower, get changed and eat breakfast with a myriad of anxious, rushed and tired thoughts – ‘Oh no, I need to do that today / How will I get everything done?’ But at that moment of stillness, I have come to realise that Jesus sits with me, not only hearing my requests, but also prompting me to hear from Him through the Bible or directing my prayers in a way that my focus turns from me and onto Him.
As time wears on, however, I have found it easy to get lost in the demands of the day, to the extent that I sometimes forget about the prayers offered and thus lose an appreciation of how God has answered them.
So, at the end of each day, I am now attempting to sit on my bed for a few minutes (I used to pray lying down in bed, but too often I never finished my prayers, something which I am sure God smiles at) and recall those early morning prayers. And what’s amazing is the way I realise the way in which God has been so carefully and thoughtfully attentive to the cries of my heart.
I prayed God would open my eyes to the needs of others. I now recall bumping into the same person three times today. Perhaps God wants me to pray for/reach out to them in some way.
I prayed God would help me have a hospitable attitude. I now recall a few people came and spoke to me whilst I was working. Perhaps God is prompting me to be hospitable when I least expect or want to.
I prayed God would make me aware of His love for me. I now recall the quiet walk I enjoyed earlier in the sun and the coffee my colleague bought me. Perhaps God was showing His love for me, not through grand gestures, but in life’s small details.
Whilst I understand that some answers to prayer aren’t always as straightforward, reflecting on the answers I can see reminds me that each day has been held together by Jesus, who was carefully and thoughtfully attentive to the cries of my heart. And for that, I am very thankful.
The discipline can be hard, but catching a glimpse of its effect in my life each night inspires me to begin the next day in prayer.
Tim Bechervaise is 26 years old, works in the finance industry and heads up his local church’s 18-30s group. He is passionate about coffee, doughnuts and Spurs. He is even more passionate about Jesus. He tweets at @TimmyBech.