Recently I joined a gym. I had been threatening myself to join, so I finally did it; I committed and made a move. Part of the workout consists of me going from one station to the next and performing different workout routines. One of the exercises they offer requires you to hit a punching bag. Of course, I approach the bag, ready to go hard and hit it with everything I've got. However, my instructor says to me, "don't attack it, find a rhythm, and hit the bag one blow at a time." He taught me that a consistent rhythm would help build my muscles and increase my accuracy. He was right; since that first encounter with the punching bag, I've developed a rhythm and increased my endurance.
So it is with prayer. When we develop a healthy rhythm and incorporate it into our daily routine, it strengthens and builds our spiritual muscles and allows us to pray with greater focus and clarity. If we are going to lead, serve and function effectively in the gifts and purpose that God has called us, then WE must create time and space for prayer. So often, when life gets busy or hectic, we make prayer a last resort when in actuality, it should be our first line of defense.
When we look throughout scripture, we see the most excellent example of someone who made prayer a priority, Jesus. We see where Jesus repeatedly got up early in the morning and went to pray. He chose solitude. If the son of God found it necessary to pull away and communicate with His Father, then how much more should we. Look, if Jesus demonstrated it, we need it.
When we make time and space for prayer, it affords us three key opportunities.
First : We Get A Strength Exchange.
I don't know about you, but there are seasons when I have become weary. Life has been challenging, and I'm just tired. For days like these, the hard ones, when I'm not sure how to pray. Romans 8:26 says, "And the Holy Spirit helps in our weakness." Wherever you are weak, His strength is there. When the circumstances you face seem so overwhelming, remember, you serve a God who offers you peace that surpasses all understanding. Prayer provides us a beautiful exchange; it's His strength for our weakness.
Second: It Replaces Doubt With His Promises
For the days when you feel unqualified for what lies before you, prayer will remind you of God's promises to you. If you look throughout scripture, you will see where some of the great Heroes of the Faith struggled with fear, doubt, and discouragement. Moses faced fear, and Esther needed courage; however, they felt empowered to step into their purpose and lead successfully after prayer. Prayer allows us to exchange our doubt for God's promises. Joshua chapter 1 begins with the Lord repeatedly encouraging Joshua, telling him to be bold, strong, and courageous, which means that he wasn't brave or strong or courageous. He needed to get alone with God. If we are going to maintain a rhythm of prayer, we must create seasons of solitude.
Third: It Clarifies Our Identity
As a young believer, I didn't realize that I had an enemy who hated me and one of his key strategies was to keep me paralyzed with fear, anxiety, and worry. He worked overtime to keep me questioning my identity; he didn't want me to discover that I had a God who loved me and He was fighting for me. When we aren't sure of our identity, we don't walk confidently in our authority. We struggle to claim scriptures like Romans 8:37 it says, "No, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." When we incorporate prayer combined with the word into our daily routine, it will empower us to refute the lies of the enemy but claim the promises of God. When we pray the promise, we are no longer held captive or left feeling weak and inadequate. Prayer allows us to get quiet and still, and in those moments of silence, God whispers His truth to our heart, and His promises come rushing back to the front of our minds. It's in those moments we are equipped to stand and walk in victory.
So if you've felt like you need to step up your prayer game, then let me encourage you to take some time and get alone with God. Create an atmosphere where you are silent and still and say to the one who is in control of all things, "Lord, here I am. You know all about me, my family, my business, and what the day holds. Please give me your instructions for my life. Ask Him to guide your day and order your steps. Remember, if we desire to live lives with impact and power, we must make prayer a priority.
When we choose to cultivate a life that flows in a rhythm of prayer, we decide to live a life with an intentional connection to a loving God!
- Aimee Nelson, YouMom