May my prayer be counted as incense before You;
The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.
There are so many people with so many needs, which require us to spend much time in prayer. But, as Wesley Duewel has said, “We will never have enough time for prayer unless we deliberately plan for it…The time we give to prayer by deliberately planning is the measure of our value of prayer. It is the truest measure of our love for Jesus.”5
I urge you to follow our Lord’s example in praying at night and in the early morning. If the Lord is calling you to get up early in the morning to pray, if you want to be powerfully used by God and if you want to really know Him, you must immediately get up when He wakes you. As E. M. Bounds has said, “No man gets God who does not follow hard after Him.”6
So wake your lazy bones up and get going with God (I’m talking to myself)! If you are prone to be lazy and want to sleep in, I urge you to instead follow the desire to pray. That holy desire will provide for you a great blessing when you heed its call. And when you have decided that you are going to rise early to pray, that decision, backed up with action, will break all your self-indulgent chains, giving you greater and greater strength and desire for God.
Besides morning and evening prayers, Sunday afternoon is a great time to spend an hour or two in prayer. What better time to use for prayer than the Lord’s Day.
If you are planning to pray long, don’t be discouraged if the first few minutes are especially difficult. It seems, at least for me, that after twenty minutes or so of struggling in prayer, the rest of the time is more enjoyable and less of a struggle. That is because it often takes that long to enter into that heavenly realm where you are in awe of God.
When you get to that place in your prayers, you will almost forget that you are on earth struggling in the flesh; you will be more conscious that you are with God in the heavenly places. That is, you will be so taken up with God that you will forget all about your earthly affairs. In that blissful time, your thoughts will be more with God’s thoughts; therefore, you won’t be concerned with all of your worries; you will be more concerned for the will of God. During that sweet time of prayer, you won’t be thinking about what you could be doing or what you should be doing; rather, you will be so overcome with desire for God that all you will want to do is to drink and imbibe deeply of His love.
I challenge you to extend your prayer time for longer than twenty minutes. It will be less of a struggle from then on. And the blessings that follow will be tremendous!
5 Wesley Duewel, Mighty Prevailing Prayer (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Francis Asbury Press, of Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), p. 160.
6 E. M. Bounds, Power through Prayer, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House), 1979, p. 58.