The Spiritual Discipline of Prayer
by Linda Wise
I was part of the FCC group that attended Iftar, the breaking of the Ramadan fast, hosted by the Turkish American Friendship Association. It was a great experience and it was wonderful to talk with our Muslim brothers and sisters as they
shared details of their faith. Their stories about prayer were inspiring. Muslims are called to prayer five times a day, every day at specific times. In addition, like many Christians, they are often in conversation with God throughout the day. At a minimum, their daily prayer regimen equates to about an hour a day. That’s discipline.
As followers of Christ, we aren’t required to offer designated prayers at specific times of the day, but we are called to pray just the same. The Bible contains about 650 prayers, and the references to prayer abound. So, there is no doubt that prayer carries quite a bit of significance in our sacred text.
I read somewhere that prayer serves as a constant connection to our Creator and is a form of submission that declares that we are not in control of everything. Perhaps more simply put, prayer is communicating with God in word or thought. That sounds easy, but daily prayer can be challenging for a variety of reasons.
So, what do we do if we want to do better when it comes to prayer? A quick internet search on how to improve your prayer life will yield lots of resources, which are helpful if you’re already disciplined about prayer. But, if you need a reset, a simple commitment is a good place to start. Set a designated time for daily prayer. Find a peaceful location, free of distractions. Speak what’s on your mind and in your heart. Read scripture or use guided meditation, if you like, and then just sit quietly and listen. God will speak in some way, and you might be amazed at what you hear.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.