There’s one word which keeps eluding us in the matter of obedience: discipline. If anything, we are the most indisciplined people around. We cannot manage our time; we cannot manage our thoughts. So many attractions and so many distractions. You decide to spend some time with the Lord, but the TV beckons! There’s a continuing crisis in the UK; there’s the Dallas ambush; there’s some sensational news or other. And you spend time watching all the news, and before you realize it, an hour is gone! Sometimes two hours! So much for time management!
What about managing our thoughts? So many vain thoughts, vain imaginations, prejudices & biases – all crystallizing into wrong attitudes, restlessness, boredom, and sheer indiscipline. I believe God wants us to live a life of discipline: controlling our time, controlling our thoughts. The key is regular prayer. If I don’t give first place to prayer and quiet time with God, I am ‘gone’! (Truly, ‘things fall apart’!) It’s through reading God’s Word and praying that I let the Spirit take charge of me. I begin to sense God’s presence and I experience God’s peace. This lasts for a few hours, and again I need to get down on my knees and spend time with God; with my Bible and prayer.
I find a prayer list to be very useful. I keep adding prayer items on a daily basis, and I keep praying. But it’s really hard to pray alone, because your mind wanders. That’s why I find praying with my wife to be a great blessing. We pray together three times a day at least. But I need to pray alone. Get myself into the discipline of regular prayer. My Lord Jesus often went into a solitary place and prayed alone to His Heavenly Father. Should we not do the same?
Is it so difficult to pin ourselves down in prayer? Just for 10-15 minutes at a time? I need to be steadfast in my prayer life. No, human resolve won’t do it; human will-power fails. But if I understand the need to honour God by coming to Him again and again on my knees in prayer – even if I cannot express my thoughts and concerns clearly to Him, since my mind wanders or my body wants to go to sleep, apart from other distractions that Satan brings in – still, the very act of kneeling down at His feet does help.
I am going to do it three times a day. Little by little, bit by bit. I want to learn to pray alone. Once I get into the habit of solitary prayer, God’s peace and God’s presence will be two great sources of strength in my daily walk, and in my day-to-day relationships with other people. Being a child of God indwelt by the Spirit, I know that lack of solitary prayer is what is making me restless, directionless and dissatisfied. “Lord, help me learn to pray alone, pray in a regular, disciplined fashion. And please, Lord, let your peace and presence flood my mind and heart, as You promised according to Your Word. Grant me Your abundant grace in this regard. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”