"I will not let go unless you bless me."

Genesis 32:26
Jacob wrestled with God and won.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

After a Victory

A third time to pray is after a major victory.  By praising the Lord after a major victory in our lives, we acknowledge that it is really His. 
Another reason to pray after winning a major battle is to keep ourselves aware that the Prince of this world is still at large and will try everything he can to make us stumble.  Prayer can help us steer clear of temptation or win another battle over it when we must encounter it.
Yet another reason to pray after a victory is to seek God's help in going on to yet another victory.  "From victory unto victory His army shall He lead, till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed."  Seeking God's favor keeps us from resting on our laurels and growing spiritually complacent.
Christ would frequently withdraw by Himself to pray when His ministry was prospering.  He knew He wasn't here to become an earthly king and needed help from the heavenly Father in avoiding that temptation.  As a result, He experienced a continual victory over sin in this life--to ultimately win over sin in our lives as well....

Monday, May 9, 2011

Watching Unto Prayer

The expression "watching unto prayer" means missing out on sleep rather than going without prayer.  Like a fast from food this requires forgoing another natural appetite--the need for sleep.
When He walked this earth, Jesus would go without sleep from time to time.  Sometimes He would get up very early in the morning, other times He would stay up late.  The night before He chose the twelve disciples, He didn't sleep at all due to His prayer activity.  Maybe the reason He could sleep through a storm was an all-night prayer vigil.
When Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned for healing a demon-possessed slave girl, they couldn't sleep, so they prayed and sang praise songs.  Of course, if we were flogged and put in stocks we probably wouldn't sleep much either.  What was significant was that they turned their inability to sleep into a time of prayer and worship.  As a result, they saved the Philippian jailer and his entire family.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

In the Evening

It also pays to pray before you go to bed at night.  If you are worried about something and can't sleep, take it to the Lord.  It is better to stay up for an hour talking to Him rather than going to bed on time and not being able to sleep because you have taken the concerns of the day to bed with you.
I often pray after I have gone to bed.  Some things will pray upon the mind and it certainly beats worrying about them.  Worry never helps to improve the situation; prayer does.  I used to be a champion worry-wart.  Often, if I don't watch myself, I start slipping into old thought patterns--brooding about things I have no control over.  Wars, the economy, the high price of gas and food....It's hopeless.  But God is still in control of everything, and I mean everything.  In the book of Matthew, Jesus says that we shouldn't worry.  If God says not to do something and I do it anyhow, what does that make the action?  That would mean worry must be a sin.
The solution to worries--especially at night--is prayer.  Turn your concerns over to God and leave them there.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"Whisper a Prayer at Noon...."

After you have succeeded in establishing an early morning devotional time, you can see about having devotions at other times of the day as well.  In his book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life which is available at amazon.com, William Law recommends praying no less than 6 times a day.  In other words, prayer throughout the waking hours at three hour intervals.  Not counting before and after every meal of course.
Since you probably have work or school (or both) to attend to, you will need to be creative.  Ask if you can take an hour off for lunch and spend the extra time in prayer and meditation.  Or wait till you get home, if you're blessed enough to get off at three or before and pray then.  Sometime between noon and three pm is ideal if you are able to get away.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Early in the Morning Will I Seek Thee

Some people, including Christians, are not morning people.  But all things are possible with God.  Force yourself to get up one hour earlier to have a regular devotional time.  Drink coffee if you must, but spending time with God is essential.  How can we avoid temptation if we don't ask God to "deliver us from evil" before the day starts?
As for me, I spend roughly half the time reading the Bible and meditating on it.  The other half I spend on talking to God.  There is nothing that can substitute for a good Bible reading and prayer session in the morning.
Be sure to feed your pets before you start the devotions, as they will disturb your time with God otherwise.  Likewise, make sure you know what time your children rise, so you will have plenty of time before you have to deal with them.