“Quality is not always quantity,” I’ve been told. But if memory serves me right, this bit of Christianese was only doled up when it came to my “personal time with the Lord”. The older I get, however, the more I see how wrong I was. When it comes with our walk with Christ, quality is quantity. It really is an inescapable bit of pragmatic truth- those who are most godly spend the most time with God.
Like you, I feel as if there’s never enough time. It feels as if I’m being stretched in every direction imaginable. A friend asked me not too long ago how things were going? I started to tell them it was crazy, but then I had the thought it’s always crazy, and when crazy has become normal, it’s no longer crazy, I guess.
Now this is just a long drawn out way to say a quick glance over my calendar doesn’t allow for long stretches of prayer, certainly not in the four-hour daily ilk of Martin Luther. And yet, as the book title says, “I’m too busy not to pray.” It really is counterintuitive, the more I have going on, the greater the stress and deeper the burdens the more I have to press into God. And it’s here where God was whispering to me in a very clear way that I needed to spend an hour with him daily in communion. Now mind you, his voice was being contradicted by the voices of husbanding, parenting, work and production. But I knew God was right, and over the last year and a half I’ve taken this journey of setting aside an hour with God.
“What exactly do you do for this hour,” a friend of mine asked as I was sharing this with him. Here it is:
20 minutes of praying a passage of Scripture I’ve memorized over myself. I’ve found that reading the Bible exposes me to the Bible, but memorizing Scripture helps me to absorb Scripture. This has been so helpful.
20 minutes of Bible reading.
20 minutes of Intercession. This involves me praying for specific people in my family, church and friendships, along with our world and a host of other items. The names, needs and Scriptures I pray over them specifically is in my prayer journal. When God answers I note it, and often come back and celebrate the faithfulness of God.
While I haven’t emerged from this time having won any father of the year awards, I have noticed some residual rewards of my elongated time with Christ:
1. More joy
2. A heightened God awareness throughout the day
3. Greater effectiveness in preaching
4. Sensitivity to sin
5. Growth in humility
Just to name a few.
Now this maybe too ambitious for some. So maybe your plan needs to be 5/5/5, or 10/10/10, or something completely different. But let’s press in. Things really are too crazy in our lives not to pray.