In the midst of the busyness and noise of life, do you find it hard to stop and listen to God? Do you find communication with God to be a one-sided conversation? Do you find your heart desiring to know God more fully?
Recently I traveled with my family in Switzerland. We stayed in a village without cars, TVs, Starbucks, or cell phone coverage. We took a cable car up to the village and, due to my poor Internet navigation skills, stayed in a bed and breakfast at the top of the village—which meant that we had to lug our suitcases up a pretty steep mountain to get there.
Life in the village seemed to stand still. There we were, overlooking the Swiss Alps with no commitments or time constraints. There on the mountain, God’s awesomeness was in full view at every vantage point, and communication with God came quickly, easily, and often.
However, the real world I live in involves running from soccer practice to theater practice while sewing on buttons at stoplights and grabbing a pizza for the third time in a week while my kids promise me that it meets all of the food group requirements.
So how do we find the mountaintops in our everyday world? How do you find quiet times to be awed by your Creator? How do you create space for an everyday prayer life?
Every mountain can be viewed from different vantage points. The same is true of prayer. If your prayer life is dry, examine your vantage point. Prayer is not a duty, an obligation, or a discipline—it’s a privilege! It is God’s invitation to you to join in a conversation with him about your life. It’s an amazing gift. When you approach prayer in this way, it’s easier to carve out time for it.
Next, take a look at what you’re seeking from your prayer life. Among other things, a strong prayer life can help you glorify God, understand God’s character, and practice obedience.
When you humble yourself and come before God to seek direction and ask for help, you are saying, “I can’t do this, God; I need you.” Recognizing your dependence on God honors him and brings him glory.
When you sit down and have a good conversation with someone, you learn a lot about his character. When you hang out with people, you learn what makes them tick. When you go through tough times with a friend, you see who she truly is. God is calling you to converse with him, hang out with him, and walk through valleys with him. As you do, you’ll learn a lot about God’s character. How cool is that?
When you pray, listen more than you talk. Sure, it may seem uncomfortable or awkward at first, but wait on God. It will take some practice and some patience, but communicating with God is a two-way street. God wants to listen to the desires of your heart and speak love, grace, and joy into your hurts, fears, and worries.
As you listen to God, act on what you hear. This is where obedience comes in. Hearing and obeying go together (Matt. 7:14-27). In the past, when I had to make difficult decisions I jokingly asked God to send e-mails to make his will clear. However, I have found that when I take the time to lay my heart before God and then wait on God (sometimes minutes, sometimes years), I eventually come to know what God is calling me to do.
So how do you find time for prayer in the busyness of life? There’s no easy answer. But for the Christian the question is also, How do you not?
So take some time to hang out with God, get to know him better, and go to the mountaintop with him in the midst of carpools, drive-thrus, and soccer games.