Make a Plan to Pray

Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things.
–Jeremiah 33:3

If God communicates His direction, His peace, and His desires to us through prayer, then why don’t we as Christians spend more time in prayer?

Here’s how pastor and author John Piper answered that question: “One of the main reasons so many of God’s children don’t have a significant life of prayer is not so much that we don’t want to, but that we don’t plan to. . . . And we all know that the opposite of planning is not a wonderful flow of deep, spontaneous experiences in prayer. The opposite of planning is the rut. If you don’t plan a vacation, you will probably stay home and watch TV. The natural, unplanned flow of spiritual life sinks to the lowest ebb of vitality. . . . If you want renewal in your life of prayer, you must plan to see it.”

Let me suggest a plan for prayer so you can really listen to the voice of God in your life. First of all, you need a period of time to listen to God. Now, the Bible says we ought to pray throughout the day. Paul wrote, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But there also needs to be a designated time every day when you pray. For Jesus, it was the early morning hours. For some people, it might be at night. You need to set aside time each day to listen to the voice of God.

Second, you need a place to meet with God. In Mark 1, Jesus went to a “secluded place” to pray (v. 35). When I was in high school, there was a park I would go to every morning to read my Bible and pray. There, God spoke to me about some of the most important issues in my life. If you’re serious about listening to God, you need a prearranged place to meet with Him.

Finally, you need a notepad. I think it’s important to let God know you’re paying attention when He talks to you. That’s why I encourage you to record the lessons God is teaching you. And as you read back over your spiritual journal, you’ll be amazed at what God has done in your life. One day years ago, I was feeling overwhelmed, so I pulled out some of my old spiritual journals. As I recalled God’s faithfulness to me, it was as if He were saying, Robert, just as I have taken care of you in the past, I’m going to take care of you now. The peace of God flooded over me, and I went home that evening with the assurance that God is in control.

God is not silent. He’s speaking to you. Are you making time to listen?

***

Today’s devotion is adapted from “The God Who Speaks” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

John Piper, Desiring God, rev. ed. (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2011), 182–83; emphasis in original.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

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