So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. (Luke 5:16)
Church researchers made an interesting finding about the satisfaction of pastors with their lives. They discovered that there is a direct correlation between average prayer time per day and job satisfaction. Here’s a sample of their results:
The amount of time spent in prayer by Pastors who are:
Very satisfied spend an average of 56 minutes a day in prayer;
Somewhat satisfied average 43 minutes;
Somewhat dissatisfied average 29 minutes
Very dissatisfied average 21 minutes.
Similar studies indicate than most Christians in the US pray less than five minutes a day. How’s your prayer life? The most common excuse for a slacking prayer life is a lack of time. It is easy to allow our busy lives to distort our spiritual lives and allow temporal things to supersede the eternal.
Jesus had the opposite response. As His ministry and its accompanying demands grew, the busyness of success drove Him to prayer, not from prayer. It drove Him to seek solitude, to find a quiet place to pray, to make time to hear the voice of the Father. Paul instructed us — Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. (Ephesians 5:1) Our prayer lives should reflect the prayer life of Jesus.
Is prayer a priority in your life? Are you making time to get alone with God? Do you often slip away to pray? Do you seek the solitude of the wilderness and pray? The activities of our lives often plead with a sense of urgency for our immediate attention. It is entirely possible for life’s unending demands to be urgent, yet unimportant. Hundreds were carried to Jesus to be healed and delivered. They crawled through crowds to touch Him. Everyone wanted something from Him. The demands of His life were beyond anything we will ever experience, yet he always found time for solitary prayer.
When Luke researched Jesus’ life to produce his account, he began — Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us… (Luke 1:1,2a) Those eyewitnesses reported miracles, signs and wonders. They reported love, compassion, grace and forgiveness in action. They also found it extraordinary enough to report that Jesus often secluded Himself in prayer. I suspect our friends and the eyewitnesses to our lives would find it extraordinary if they witnessed our routine sequestration in prayer. The results of that kind of prayer life would be extraordinary to us, too.
I, like many Christians, have experienced a schizophrenic prayer life, in one period vital and deeply in conversation with the Lord, and in another, ebbing to near nonexistence. As goes my prayer, so also goes His peace, favor, and abiding Presence in my life. For me, it is impossible to have vibrant ministry accompanied by a bad prayer life.
Elijah, depleted after the greatest moments in his ministry, walked ninety miles to get to the mountain of God, climbed the mountain and sat through fire, an earthquake, and a tornado before he finally heard – a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him…
Have you heard the still small voice of God? Are you going to the mountain of God in prayer to listen for it? Prioritizing prayer is a simple decision. Among the voices in your life, it may not seem urgent, but it is very important. If it was necessary for He Himself, it must be necessary for me. Pray expectantly, pray regularly, pray the Word, pray His name, pray continuously, and God will respond.
Suddenly a voice came……
Listening for His voice,