To finish off this series on prayer, this post will lay out four practical aspects of prayer that come out in the life and example of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first is simply time. In Mark 1:35 we read, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Even in the busyness of Jesus’ life and work of casting out demons, talking with his disciples, and preaching, he went into a solitary place to have communion with his Father in prayer. We likewise ought to set aside time to be alone and commune with God in prayer. Throughout the busyness of our lives as Christian young people, it is easy for us to overlook personal devotions, or at least, not make them a priority. We often find time for other things an allow those things to occupy our minds when we should be delving into the Word of God. Devotions in the morning allows God’s Word to be hidden in our hearts all throughout the day. At night, however, our minds are winding down; we grow tired, and maybe become preoccupied with thoughts of the day. Starting off your day in Scripture will lead you to think on God more throughout the day.
A second practical aspect of prayer is the place. As we have read in Mark 1:35, Jesus went into a solitary place, the desert, to spend time with His Father alone in devotion to Him. We ought to find our place as well. In certain places, we are unable fully to have communion with God because there are distractions surrounding us. Places such as restaurants, the classroom, and even your home study are not considered good places to communicate with your Father. They offer too many distractions that keep us from our giving ourselves to communication with God. Find a place free from those distractions. Matthew 6:6 states “enter into thy closet.” This means, find a quiet, peaceful place where where you can keep your mind focused on your prayers.
The third aspect is method. How do you use your Bible in prayer? What is your goal in doing so? When we read our Bibles, it ought not be a chore for us. We should daily desire that time away from the chaos of the world and seek the things of the kingdom. When we pray, we mustn’t use vain repetitions. This means, when we pray, we must not simply speak the same words we are so used to saying, but bring our current petitions before God. Matthew 6:7 says, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” We must warm our hearts with the flame of God’s Word so that when we pray our heart is completely fixated on Him. When we pray we should ask the Holy Spirit to enable us more fully to understand and comprehend the infallible Word of God. We must strive earnestly to pray as much as possible.
The last aspect we consider is discipline. This is the most crucial aspect we have to keep in mind. Prayer and constant devotion takes much work. Our prayers are always imperfect and tainted with sin, so we should not strive for perfection, but rather we must pray sincerely and from the heart. If a man loves God, then prayer is like breathing. Just as breathing is necessary to live, so is prayer necessary for a man to have communication with God. Prayer is something we do once or just occasionally. It is something that needs to be maintained and developed into a habit. Sometimes we may think that we have more years to develop a relationship to God and that when we get older and more mature then we will start developing our prayers. But this should not be the case. Especially for young men as future leaders in church and home, establishing good routines of prayer is crucial for the household of faith. Young women also need to develop habit of prayer and personal devotions in preparation for teaching and leading the children the Lord may give them. As you pray, your walk of sanctification is made stronger and increases more and more. We must not discipline ourselves out of a sense guilt, but rather discipline ourselves out of the love we have for Christ. May be strive to be faithful in the discipline of prayer.
Titus Langerak and Hannah Butgereit