We are all familiar with this famous Nike slogan – “Just Do it!” That was my first reaction to a question someone recently posed about what advice I would give to a believer regarding prayer. Prayer is not complicated. Just do it! We have this invitation from our heavenly Father to come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
SHOW UP! You will never establish a pattern of prayer if you don’t regularly “show up” to the place of prayer. Having a designated place where you regularly meet with the Lord is helpful. It is like having a standing appointment with your best friend at your favorite place. Set a time when you will meet. When you meet a friend for coffee, you seldom have an agenda – conversation just evolves. It is OK to come to a time of prayer with no agenda – no prayer list. Simply share with the Father what is on your heart.
ESTABLISH A ROUTINE AND STICK WITH IT! As you study the life of Jesus, you soon see that He regularly removed Himself from the crowds in order to spend time with the Father. Even in the midst of demanding ministry, Jesus would go away to a quiet place to be with His Father. I have been told that regardless of what else might be happening or who was visiting, my grandfather had a time of day that was an appointment with God and he would slip away to spend time in the Word and pray. You are establishing a regular appointment with your very best Friend!
QUIET YOUR HEART! Don’t stress about what you will say or how long you need to spend in this prayer time (you typically don’t stress over the length of time with a friend). If you are stressed about all you need to do for the day or week, download it. When I find my prayers are interrupted by thoughts of all I have to do, I find it helpful to make a list of all of those tasks that I am concerned about, and I simply say to the Lord, “I trust these to you.” I am not going to worry about these while I am with the Father and I am trusting Him to help me accomplish all I need to accomplish.
SPEND TIME IN THE WORD! Linger over it. Meditate on it. Allow the Lord to speak to you through the written Word. Listen! God desires to speak to you. We often think of prayer as a monologue in which we do all of the talking.
LET YOUR REQUESTS BE KNOWN! “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” (Philippians 4:6). Here is the place for your “prayer list.” This is the time to pour out your requests – to pray over your “to do” list; to pray for family and for those you want to see come to faith in Christ. It is time to pray for your pastor(s) and other leaders and any other needs the Lord brings to mind.
BEGIN TODAY! There is never a better time to begin a routine of spending time with the Father than now. No excuses – Just Do It!