By monthly contributor Ann Dunagan of Harvest Ministry
Imagine if someone gave you a brand-new living room set. The pieces of furniture are so much better than you could have imagined, or dreamed. The set is absolutely perfect for your family. The colors. The style. The look. Wow. It’s so much better than that old worn-out set that should have gone years ago.
But imagine bringing that new living room set home . . . and leaving it outside.
You know it needs to come in. You want to bring it in.
But you just aren’t willing to take the time to rearrange your living room.
You don’t want to “bother” with getting rid of the old set.
It’s such a job to get everything moved around.
Making a “place” for God’s gift of prayer . . .
As Christians, we have been given a tremendous gift. God has extended a special invitation for us to spend time with Him on a regular basis; but sometimes, we aren’t willing to take the time to “rearrange” our lives to fit this time with Him into our comfortable old routine.
A simple way to begin a new daily habit for time with the Lord is to find a “place” for it.
Just like we would need to rearrange our furniture to fit a new couch set into our home, we need to rearrange our life (and be willing to get rid of old habits and time-fillers) to make room for prayer.
A new lifestyle of daily prayer will require consistent desire and discipline, but it’s wonderful to know that God will help you to make necessary changes. He is so willing and desiring to give us His strength and His help. As you rely on Him (even for this daily God-empowered discipline and self-control), your time with the Lord can eventually become a highlight of your day and a strength of your life.
In a spiritually-healthy family, our prayer-life can include praying with others at church, praying together as a family, and/or praying (or “interceding”) for the needs of others and for the world.
Yet, nothing is more spiritually beneficial for families than a lifestyle of personal prayer.
As Christians, we tell our kids that it’s good to pray. Perhaps we pray before mealtime. Perhaps we pray for our kids at night (during those special times when we remember to tuck in our little ones before they fall asleep).
Yet how many of us, as moms, are a bit lacking in our own daily personal prayer lives? As we develop our own personal relationship with God through our own regular time with the Lord, the cooperate effect on the family and on others is powerful. We get more of God’s heart and perspective and we begin to follow His day-by-day leading.
One effective “strategy” to begin to establish a new habit of daily prayer is to literally make a physical “place” in your home as a little prayer spot. It can serve as your reminder to come and spend time, even just a moment, with the Lord.
If time with God is something you want in your life, be encouraged. If you don’t measure up to the expectations of others (or of yourself), don’t give up. It can be difficult with babies and kiddos, but it’s not impossible. Just make a few strategic steps and start moving forward. Even a few minutes a day to set your heart and mind on the Lord is powerful. With God’s help, YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
As parents, one of the greatest ways to instill in your kids the foundation of life-impacting faith is for your kids to actually “see” you reading your Bible, (on a regular everyday basis, not just at church), and for your kids to “see” you taking time to pray by yourself.
Establish a special “place” in your home for PRAYER
- perhaps a comfy chair in a spare bedroom
- perhaps in your home office
- perhaps on the couch in your living room
- perhaps on a trail outside your house or a quiet walk around your neighborhood
If you haven’t been taking the time to consistently pray on a regular basis, it’s helpful to “round up” a few quiet-time accessories or “spiritual” items and to have them set aside and waiting for you in your designated new quiet-time place.
Here are a few suggestions for helpful “QUIET TIME” items:
- your own Bible (with a marker to remember where you are reading)
- a daily Bible-reading chart
- a journal or notebook, with a pen and a highlighter
- a devotional or “meaty” spiritual book (to challenge your walk with Christ)
- a world map, and missionary newsletters
- a CD with quiet worship music
- possibly even items for holy communion (with wafers, a cup, and grape juice) for a personal communion time (see I Corinthians 11) perhaps on a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis, to remember the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice
Remember to be flexible . . . and walk with God throughout each day!
Along with consistency in prayer, it’s important to be flexible. In the life of every family, there will be different seasons and changing schedules. What works today may not work tomorrow; yet even so, we need to faithfully guard our time with God. If what you’re doing right now, concerning your personal daily prayer life, is working, by all means keep it up; but if it’s not working, please ask for God’s help and His grace (along with His unlimited creative ideas) to make a change!
Living a life of prayer is simply walking and talking with God. It’s vital to acknowledge God’s presence right beside you and with you all throughout each day.
As individuals, and as families, we can welcome the presence of God’s Spirit into every dimension of our lives. God cares about everything (whether little or big, silly or significant, everyday or eternal), and we can welcome His presence into every decision and every activity. In our families and in our daily communication with God, there should not be a barrier between what is “holy” and what is “common”; instead, God desires for every dimension of our lives (at home, at school, at church, at work, and even at play) to be lived in constant fellowship with Him.
We need to get that “special couch set” (our daily time with the Lord) into our main living room. Some of our old furniture might have to go. Some of our old decorations and clutter might not “match” with the quality of this new look. But the new pieces are so perfect; and we want that new couch set TO FIT!
“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased,
that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray . . . Luke 11:1
Helpful Prayer Guides: