“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:16-19
I love music, and I believe there’s no better way to wake up in the morning than listening, and sometimes even singing along with a few of my favorite worship songs. God doesn’t even mind when I’m off-key! Since my quiet time takes place at a very early hour, music is the best way to get my brain to engage. In fact, when I first committed to having a quiet time, I wasn’t sure God would even be awake at that hour! But He is. That early morning worship is a special time to come into His presence before starting my day, and helps me stay peaceful, centered and focused on Him, as I face the day ahead of me.
Listening to a recent sermon, though, I was deeply convicted that my prayer time had become a bit self-indulgent. Our pastor had asked how many of our prayers were more focused on things we needed or wanted, rather than being petitions for ministers, missionaries, and the conversion of souls around the world. Though I have a small blackboard with petitions I pray over every day, I was troubled as I realized that quite often the time I spend on those petitions is short in comparison to the time I spend in praise and worship.
As I laid my heart before God, confessing and asking forgiveness for being selfish in my prayer time, I heard His quiet whisper, “I love our time together, too. It is very special to me. Don’t change it. You are doing exactly what I have called you to do; to build our relationship into the most important thing in your life. I know all about the petitions on your board and will answer them whether your prayers last fifteen seconds or fifteen minutes. Don’t worry…we’re good.”
While our minister was simply encouraging us to expand our prayer lives beyond the boundaries of self, I took it as a personal chastisement to pray better, even though that was not the intended message. How awesome is our God to reaffirm in such a kind, gentle and loving way that He loves spending time with us…time when our hearts and minds are focused on Him, and Him alone. He knows the distractions we face. He understands how hard it is to focus solely on Him, without seeing dust on the table or thinking about something that needs to go on the grocery list. That is why our effort, alone, is precious to Him. He loves that we take the time to meet with Him in prayer, and when we do, He is happy to listen. The next time you pray, close your eyes and imagine God sitting right there beside you, wrapping you in His arms as you pray. You might be surprised to actually feel that hug in your heart!
Prayer: Father God, thank You for always being there and for so graciously reaffirming Your love for me again and again. I love You, praise You and thank You for always hearing my prayers. Help me to open my heart and mind to sense Your presence when I pray. Holy Spirit, guide my prayers today…in Jesus’ name, amen.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1