Friday, July 8, 2011


"I'd really love to pray more," he said to me, "but I just don't have the time!"

Many of us have heard – or said – something similar to the above statement.  It seems to be a common excuse for the prayerless life.  However, I firmly believe that it’s not that we don’t have the time to pray – it’s that we don’t have the desire.  We haven’t made prayer a priority in our lives.

Imagine with me, if you will.  A representative of Coca-Cola comes to your door with an amazing offer.  He says, “If you can get up at 6:30am every day for a month without missing a day, and watch a half-hour presentation on our company, we’ll give you a million dollars!  Wow, what a deal!  What do you think you’d do?  Would you say, “Sorry, I’m not a morning person, I don’t have time for you or your million bucks!”  No!  With great excitement you’d tell your family about the offer and get them pumped up about the prize money.  Perhaps you’d encourage them to get up and watch with you.  You’d tell your friends and remind them not to call you after 10pm as you had to get to sleep early; you would cancel your late-night hockey games; you would put your kids to bed early; you would set 5 alarm clocks instead of just one.  In short, you would do whatever it takes to reorder your lifestyle for that one month in order to get up early for that presentation!  That prize of a million dollars would spur you on!

The truth of the illustration is this: we make time for what is important to us.  If socializing is important to you, you’ll prioritize that over prayer.  If entertainment grabs your heart, you’ll stay up late for that.  Whether its money, sports, internet, shopping, work, golf…if you’re passionate about it, you’ll make time for it.

So we see that, except for those very rare occasions, it’s not that we don’t have time for prayer, it’s that we don’t have desire.  Unfortunately most of us wait for moments of crisis to pray…as that’s when desperation and desire kick in!  In crisis we suddenly become aware that we need to shuffle our schedule and priorities to pray.

The men and women of God who have made a difference throughout history knew and prized and treasured Jesus more than anything – even more than their sleep.  They didn’t wait for crisis.  They made prayer a priority, despite busy schedules, heavy workloads and crowds of children.  They rearranged their schedules and learned to say no to things that would have taken away their time and attention from the priority of prayer.

People often ask me, why don’t we see God move here in North America like you say He is moving around the world?  Part of the answer is that they have desire and desperation – while we are content for life to keep on going as it’s always gone.  Poverty or persecution spurs them on.  Affluence and ease lull us to sleep.

What we need is a God-given passion.  The Kingdom of God and the salvation of the lost are worth more than a million bucks…Are you up to the challenge?

Below are a few ideas to help us practically grow our desire for God
a. Ask the Holy Spirit for a renewed passion for Jesus and for prayer (“You have not because you ask not” – James 4:2)
b. Set a schedule…and an alarm clock if necessary!  (You schedule everything else that's important to you, why not prayer?)
c. Get friends together and pray.  (That’s what the early disciples did in Acts – gathered daily and from house-to-house.  It helps keep us accountable…and helps spur each other on).
d. Fast and pray – as you learn to fast and say “no” to earthly appetites, you’ll be surprised how your spiritual appetite will grow!  When you unplug from the world, it’s easier to plug-in to God!
e. Read and/or listen to those that were passionate about the things of God.  Their fire can help ignite yours!  I'd suggest pretty much anything by Keith Green, Leonard Ravenhill, Charles Finney or John Wesley.
f. Meditate on eternity.  Once you grasp the reality of hell and the necessity to reach the lost, you’ll find a new fire and passion kindling in your heart!  You’ll begin to agree with Charles Spurgeon who said: “If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies.  And if they perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees…let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”

 "Could a mariner sit idle if he heard a drowning cry?
Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die?
Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand?
Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you damned?"
 - Leonard Ravenhill -

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