I went to the gym once. I spent an hour working out. But when I had finished I did not look any different! You can’t get in shape by going to the gym once, it takes regular visits. You could go to the gym once a week and it would help, but to really achieve impressive results it takes a daily schedule of exercise. Getting to the gym regularly is only the beginning. Understanding and planning the various exercises is also necessary if an exercise program is going to be effective.
It is the same when it comes to developing a vibrant prayer life. You can pray once and it will do you good. God hears and answers our prayers. The psalmist tells us: “He will call on me, and I will answer him;” (Psalm 91:15). But if we really want to grow in our understanding of prayer and our relationship with God, we need to develop a regular pattern or habit of prayer. The old adage “practice makes perfect” certainly has application when it comes to our prayer lives.
Just like going to the gym, a regular schedule of prayer is going to result in a definite development of our prayer muscles. We need the regular spiritual workout. Just showing up is not going to mean automatic results. We need to do some planning and have to decide on an approach to our time of prayer. We need to think through what elements need to be included. This will vary for each of us. These elements could include a time of praising God, a time of reading Scripture and praying Scripture, a time for confession and asking for forgiveness, a time of praying for your own personal needs and a time for praying for others. These are just some of the elements we can use.
We can think of these elements as pieces of gym equipment and plan our prayer “workout’ around these pieces of equipment. We don’t have to do the same thing every day either. Just as those who go to the gym may spend a day focusing on just their legs. One day could be spent specifically praying for the children’s ministries in the church.
Getting organized and having a plan allows us to become effective in prayer and will help us to deepen our relationship with the Lord, and like a good workout schedule we end up feeling fit and healthy.
Are you “prayer fit?”