The Habit of Prayer
Getting fit and in shape is very difficult. It takes consistency. It means getting out of bed earlier than usual and doing something your body does not appreciate — at least at first.
Being a long-distance runner, I help people without any fitness background run for 30 minutes or longer without stopping. But it happens slowly. Initially, there is more walking than running. Over time, the periods of walking get shorter the periods of running become longer. Eventually, you make the incredible discovery that you can do what you never thought you would be able to. And then as a bonus, you get the runner’s high.
This is what it takes to form a habit. There are few, if any, habits that are as rewarding as the habit of prayer. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 it says, “… pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Through prayer and waiting and watching we get to know the will of God in our circumstances. Through prayer, we can confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness. We praise and worship God, and draw close to Him. We give Him all our burdens and feel how he lifts them and gives us his peace beyond our understanding. In prayer, we have the most faithful Friend of all.
But as with running, it is hard to form the habit of prayer. We need to practice it — start small, but be consistent. We forget and fail, but try again and again until we learn how. And we let the Holy Spirit pray through us. God does nothing in this world without his people asking for it. So it is worth our effort to learn how to be consistent at it.
One thing I believe God is showing me is that I should become a prayer runner. Whenever I run, I should pray as well. I find such joy in the idea, but the practical execution is hard, as is anything worth doing. Let’s not get discouraged, but commit today to become men and women of prayer.
— Stephan van der Merwe
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