Prayer is always personal first, it starts with a person, then catches fire to others.
I’ve been praying for a long time, many decades in fact, and yet at times I find myself feeling like I’m still in the kindergarten of prayer. From unanswered prayers to discerning God’s voice, there is so much more to learn.
One of my most substantive lessons on prayer was that for too long I made it too complicated.
By complicated I don’t mean to infer that prayer is difficult; although it does require effort because our nature resists stillness and there is an enemy who wants to prevent prayer. I mean it’s not necessary to cover all the disciplines, practices, and facets of prayer and devotion every day.
Prayer is not a ritual we have to get right, it’s a relationship for us to enjoy.
Complicating prayer makes consistency in prayer more challenging than it needs to be.
The role of prayer is to connect with God at a genuine heart level, hear His voice, and respond in a way that changes our lives and hopefully, changes the lives of others too.
The practice of prayer isn’t merely for the sake of a spiritual discipline, a routine of spiritual maturity, or even being a good leader, it’s to know God and live for, in and through Him.
I’ve commented before about my little prayer room in our basement. I love that space. I could and sometimes do remain there for long periods of time. Other times its shorter, but always I find it to be holy ground, like a quiet little sanctuary. A place where I can just sit quietly and talk with God. There is no need to perform or check all the boxes, but only to be in communion with the Father.
Prayer is an opportunity to be grateful and to offer thanksgiving. It’s an opportunity to worship, confess sin, listen and learn, but mostly to just be with God.
I mention my prayer room because I’ve found that a space, any space, where you feel comfortable helps develop consistency in prayer.
One of my friends sits out on his back deck. Another has a favorite chair in a home office. Where is your special place? Of course, we can find God anywhere, in our kitchen, an airport or in a busy day at the office. But if you are blessed with a special space, you know what I mean.
The key to prayer is the disposition of our hearts.
- Are we looking for God?
- Are we eager to worship?
- Are we listening for the prompts of His Spirit?
- Do we obey?
- And when we fail, what is our response?
As prayer changes our heart and our behavior, then we as leaders change and have greater opportunity to lead others to change. That is where moments in prayer can become a movement in prayer.
The results of a prayer movement are spiritually exponential, from salvations to spiritual maturity, the ministry of the church is strengthened to the extent that the results are greater than our efforts.
But it’s always personal first.