MAKING PRAYER A LIFESTYLE
When we say something is a lifestyle it means it is something a person, a particular group of people, or culture usually do. Our regular habits, our attitudes, our behavior, likes, dislikes, preferences, activities we enjoy all form part of our lifestyle. For example, someone who has a healthy lifestyle has certain habits the person includes in his or her daily life to reduce the risk of getting seriously ill or dying early. Habits like daily exercise, eating healthy throughout the day, getting enough sleep and rest, drinking plenty of water. When a particular activity becomes a routine, a habit that has become part of our life, such habits are hard to break or kick out of our system.
Brushing our teeth is a lifestyle for both male and female, young and old. It is a habit that is established from childhood. A typical day in the life of most people includes this daily regime that it feels odd to step out of your home without brushing your teeth.
God wants prayer to be part of our everyday life, not something we do only when we have a problem, a pressing need, or are in a particular location. Prayer should be as natural as breathing, as regular as brushing our teeth, as vital as eating. Our lifestyle reflects those things that are important to us. We should consider prayer; communing and communicating with God as something important and necessary for our survival just as eating well is essential to staying alive. Prayer becomes a lifestyle when we realize we are nothing without God and cannot survive without Him (Acts 17:28). John 1:3, John 15:4, Philippians 4:13.) The moment God takes His breath from us, keeps His help away from us, turns His face from us, we are lost and helpless.
Let us take a peep into the prayer life of David, the man after God’s heart; the man that developed habits that pleased God. In Psalm 55:17 he said, ‘Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice’. In Psalm 88:1 he told God, ‘O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before you.’ In Psalm 119:47 he said, ‘I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help’. Again, in Psalm 5:3, we see that praying in the morning was a habit to start his day. ‘My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.’ At different times of the day, David is seen running to God in prayer. In Psalm 86:3 he tells us that all day long, he cries out to God in prayer. David prayed without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He interacted with God all through the day. There was no break in transmission, no interlude, no interruption in his prayer life. All through the day, David maintained a strong connection with God. His prayer life was structured; planned for specific times of the day – morning, noon, and night. At the same time, his prayer life was spontaneous; prompted by particular situations, needs, and issues that arose in the course of the day (Psalm 16:1, Psalm 3:1-4, Psalm 17:6-9, Psalm 86:6-7, Psalm 143:1). In good times and bad times David prayed, David kept the lines of communication between him and God open. David prayed consistently; David prayed regularly. David was committed to prayer. No wonder he won the heart of God (Acts 17:22).
When Jesus was crucified the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). The significant lesson from this is that there are no barriers, no limitations, no restrictions in accessing God in prayer. There is not only one place or time to pray. We can call on God in prayer anytime and anywhere. We can pray while driving, as we walk down the streets while taking a shower or swimming. We can pray in church, we can also pray at home, in school, or in the office. It does not always have to be loud prayers that wakes up our neighborhood. Even when we are in the midst of people, we can be quietly communing with God in our hearts and such prayers rooted in faith can produce results. Abraham’s servant prayed in his heart for a wife for Isaac and God heard his prayer (Genesis 24:12, 45). As we go through the day, we will find ourselves in the midst of family, colleagues, friends, familiar and unfamiliar faces. We will find ourselves in different places from our house to the office, to the market, to a school event or family get-together. At times, we will find ourselves stuck in traffic, waiting in a queue to see the doctor or pay for items we just bought. Being able to tune to God anywhere you are and commune with Him in your heart makes praying without ceasing, praying through the day doable.
Prayer should be our natural response to painful times as well as pleasant times, times of need, and times of plenty. Whether we get a yes or a big NO to our prayers, our flames of prayer should not die out. Prayer roots us deeper and deeper in God. Prayer is for fellowship and intimacy with God. Prayer turns situations around. Prayer gives us more than we could ever ask or imagine. Prayer gives us blessings we do not deserve, blessings we are not qualified for. Prayer is for spiritual health, strength, and vitality. Prayer should not be neglected or overlooked. Prayer is for daily living; prayer is a lifestyle.