Your prayer time has to be exactly that: prayer time. You must consciously set time aside in your schedule for prayer. This moment cannot be compromised. It is your appointment with the King. Treat this time with respect and guard it jealously.
You can start at any time you like, but don’t make it something you do in your spare time. Mark it on your calendar and on your schedule. You can start gradually if you like, maybe once or twice a week. This might sound like an exercise plan, and that is exactly what it is. This is a plan to get spiritually fit and strong. And our strength comes from coming into contact with the God of life itself.
You want to build up your time spent in prayer. Just like the well-trained athlete, you want to get to a point where it is a daily commitment. You should not wait to feel inspired to pray or only pray in times of great need. Your prayer should be a living, breathing part of your life. When you miss your prayer time, it should feel much worse than missing mealtime. Indeed, in our prayer we receive true sustenance.
I hesitate to give exact numbers, but my point is this: you must invest the time if your prayer is to be fruitful. Ideally, you should find time (in quality and quantity) every day for communion with God.
You might be thinking, “No way do I have that kind of time to dedicate to prayer.” Listen; there are many faithful Christians that dedicate thirty minutes, or even an hour, to prayer every day. I am talking about laypersons not clergy. They work regular jobs and have a family, which they do not neglect in the least. If anything their prayer life allows them to cherish their family even more. If we trust in God, he will make the time available for us to comply with all of our responsibilities, including prayer.
On the other hand, there are perhaps millions of Christians that dedicate almost no time to prayer at all. Imagine how the heavens would move if all of these knelt in prayer every day!
How much time do you dedicate to television? To reading the newspaper or books? To using your computer? Towards your hobbies? Are these things more important than your appointment with the King?
Now don’t get intimidated. You don’t start by praying an hour every day. Start with a 15-30 minute prayer session once a week for a month or so. The important thing is to keep this appointment faithfully, then build up gradually from there.
When you dedicate time to prayer, God helps you to organize your thoughts, which is the key to organizing your life. Instead of being easily distracted, fearful or without direction, you know where to go and when to act. You don’t waste time. You think with clarity.
However, it goes far beyond just having a clear mind. Truths will be revealed to you. Important questions will be answered. You will intervene on the behalf of others. You become an active instrument in the expansion of God’s Kingdom. You will find forgiveness. And you will forgive.
Therefore, prayer time is not time wasted, but time gained.
You can find no greater way to invest your time. So mark it on your schedule and keep the date. Guard your prayer time jealously.
KEY CONCEPTS: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)
→ Start with a basic plan: 15-30 minutes, once a week.
→ From the beginning, maintain strict fidelity to your prayer time.
→ Build up gradually, but always with the vision to increase your time spent in prayer.
→ Time spent in prayer is time gained.
(This post is an excerpt from my book Be With Him, Be Like Him: Why and how to pray.)