february 19th - Prayer, a beloved discipline
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints Eph 6:18 (NKJV)
When you hear the word “discipline,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? I’m guessing that it is a somewhat negative thought. This word, that has a negative connotation for many of us, is often applied to the subject of prayer. From the pulpit and from "Christian" books, prayer is often presented as a “Spiritual Discipline.” Which means that many people will automatically equate prayer with a punishment or something that they would rather not do; However, discipline can be a very positive attribute in life. Think of discipline as a productive activity that is done on a regular basis which greatly benefits your life.
In the summertime, I try to swim a half-mile, 5 days a week. This is a discipline that has great benefits. I lose some of my “winter” pounds. My muscles are strengthened. My immune system is reinforced. My stamina is increased. My stress is lowered. My thinking is clearer… This physical discipline enriches my life—make that, greatly enriches my life! Who knew that something defined as a physical discipline would turn out to be such a positive experience! It might shock you—I love swimming!
When it comes to the prayer life of a Believer, I would hope that prayer would move into the category of being a spiritual discipline that you love. That it would become an indispensable, enriching part of your life. Communion and communication with the Lord has many side benefits, but the greatest benefit is the joy and meaning that comes by being continually and meaningfully connected with the Lord. Let's consider some of the additional benefits: Our prayers change us. Our prayers change situations. Our prayers help us hear God. Our prayers help us build the Kingdom of God. Our
prayers fortify and build up the spiritual man. Our prayers touch the heart of our Father. Our prayers chase away the powers of darkness. Our prayers are incredible spiritual weapons... You get the picture!
Let me tell you why my prayer closet is so important to me, and such an indispensable part of my life: When I commune with God I am filled with a peace that passes understanding. I call it a deep-seeded sense of well-being; a belief that all things will work out for my good. This keeps me emotionally stable in the midst of a crazy world. When I commune with God I am filled with creativity. I am able to think deeper and more critically. I am also filled with "Spirit Inspired" ideas and dreams which serves as a powerful motivating force. Lastly, prayer puts me on the same page where God lives, allowing me to leave my preconceived plans and follow where God is leading in the moment. It all adds up to this opinion: "Prayer is a beloved discipline!"
Author's Note: I am not naturally inclined to be a disciplined person. In my case, it is a spiritual Fruit of the Spirit and not a natural inclination of my flesh! I used to pray with the understanind that I needed to appease God and do my spiritual duty. Now I pray with passion. I need to hear from God--I want to know what He's thinking--I want to enjoy the refreshing of fellowship--I love my Father! RJD