The last several years the medical field has made tremendous advances in the area of heart health; proper diet, new medical procedures and the importance of exercise. Without exercise, our muscles atrophy. They become weaker and get stiffer at the same time. Without the benefit of regular exercise, our muscles deteriorate until they cannot perform the regular functions they once maintained.
Our heart muscles work the same way, both literally and figuratively. When we’re not praying, giving, serving, and loving on a daily basis, it becomes harder and harder to feel connected to God, to relate to other people, and to feel the joy that comes from serving.
The Bible warns us, “Guard your heart more than anything else because the source of your life flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 GW Stone hearts don’t harden overnight. They gradually atrophy until we find ourselves with a heart as cold as granite. Regular exercise allows us to love more deeply and serve more humbly. It keeps our hearts tender and compassionate, alive and grateful.
One of the greatest aspects of Christianity is prayer. If you have been a Christ-follower for any amount of time, you know how important it is to have a consistent prayer life. True prayer can sometimes be a challenge. That is why it is called a Christian “discipline.”
I firmly agree that every Christ-follower needs to have a time set apart for personal prayer. But I also believe that prayer needs to be a natural part of our daily lives. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “pray continually” but how is that done?
Bill Hybels, author of Too Busy Not to Pray, suggests a way make prayer a part of our daily routine. For example, when you shower, allow it be a “trigger” to pray for cleansing and purity in your life. If you take medication on a regular basis, allow that to be a “trigger” to pray for good health and healing for you and others. Don’t just read or listen to the news, allow it to become your prayer list. Pray for people that are hurting and facing tragedy. When you see an automobile accident or an ambulance rushing to help a needy person, pray for those involved. When you get a glass of pure, clean water, pray for those who do not have access to clean water.
The possibilities are only limited by your creativity. Start today, making your own prayer “triggers.”
Several years ago, I found a book that had a unique, but Biblical, approach on praying. In every area of life there are people who shape our world. These people have a great deal of influence in their fields: political, science, music, entertainment, medicine, finance, sports, education, etc. These are people who wield power.
The book is based on 1 Timothy 2:1-2 “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” The book gives you 365 people to pray for each day of the year. Each page includes a brief biography and suggestions how to pray for that person.
Throughout the Bible we see how God used heathen rulers to accomplish His will. In most cases they were not even aware they were being used by God. The Lord can control a king’s mind as easily as he controls a river. He can direct it as he pleases. Proverbs 21:1 (ICB)
You do not need a book to tell you who to pray for. Listen to the news. Read a news paper. Allow the Holy Spirit to direct you. But pray!
Years ago (?) Karl Malden (actor) made a commercial for American Express. The famous line at the end was, “Don’t leave home without it.” Catchy phrase isn’t it? The application is that you are not prepared to face life’s challenges unless you are carry an American Express Card. I believe in preparation for the day. I went to Walmart a couple of weeks ago, bought several groceries items and it was not until I reached the checkout that I discovered I did not have my wallet. [I left home without it.]
When we leave for work each morning, we mentally check off our list of things we wish to take with us: Keys,phone, briefcase, etc. May I suggest to you that we often forget THE most important thing in preparing for each day is time spent with God and time in His Word. The thought that we SHOULD spend time in spiritual preparation for the day gets placed on the ‘back burner’ with logic we will have more time when we get home. Right? Admit it!
Of course the only way to have time with God is to make it a top priority. Write it in your daily planner with a time slot if necessary. If you had an appointment with your State Governor, you would make sure you did not miss it. How much more important is your appointment with God!
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you… – Psalm 63:1
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else…Matthew 6:33