By Maria Fontaine
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Making prayer a habit
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5–61
It can be a temptation or tendency with most of us—to get so busy worrying about or discussing a problem that we fail to take it to the Lord. I think this response is usually more unintentional than deliberate; we simply forget to pray because we haven’t made a real good habit of prayer.
I think that one of the most important phrases we could introduce to our vocabulary and which we should frequently use is, “Should we pray?” We need to “exhort one another daily, while it is called today,” and “consider one another to provoke unto love and good works.”2
The secret of prayerfulness and walking prayerfully throughout life is simply making it a habit. There’s not really anything that’s so mystical or mysterious about it; you just have to keep doing it and keep at it, faithfully “acknowledging Him in all your ways.”3 Even when we get together to fellowship or to discuss a problem, why not ask the Lord to bless that time and fill it with whatever He wants? If we already know specifically what we want to do, we can at least ask the Lord’s blessing on it; we can ask the Lord for His solutions to any problems.
Most of us remember to pray before we go to sleep at night, and also when we first wake up in the morning or before we eat. But to truly make prayer a habit, you have to work to incorporate prayer into your life.
Prayer needs to become a habit. And to make anything a habit takes conscious effort over a period of time. It also usually involves a lot of forgetting and some remembering. Then finally we start remembering more than we forget. Prayer is just like anything else that you make a habit. It also takes praying that the Lord will help you to cultivate the habit as quickly as possible. It takes effort on our part.
We usually have our own plan, and it may be a pretty good one. But what if the Lord wants to change it? If we don’t pray, we may miss out on doing what the Lord wants us to do. Maybe on that one day that He wants things done differently, He won’t be able to show us because we’re not in the habit of asking Him about it and listening to Him.
We should learn to pray about everything. That’s why we should “pray without ceasing.”4 We need to strive to make prayer a habit in some of these areas where we don’t normally pray. The Lord wants us to acknowledge Him in every area, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”5
State of constant prayerfulness
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.”—Ephesians 6:186
Even when we have a very serious problem or emergency situation on our hands that we have to desperately pray about and continue to pray about, we can’t always stop all of our work and just sit around doing nothing but praying. After we’ve desperately prayed and committed the situation to the Lord, from then on we often just have to pray as we go, keeping it constantly in the back of our minds. And when we do have a minute between tasks, when we don’t have to be concentrating on something else, that’s when we can continue to ask the Lord for His help and deliverance for the situation.
We can be in a state of constant prayerfulness, “praying without ceasing,” a constantly prayerful frame of mind whatever we’re doing. We can keep praying for the emergency situation whenever we think about it, but we’ve also got to keep working. We must “work the works of Him that sent us while it is day, for the night cometh, when no man can work.”7
Impossible situations—thank God for them
“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”—Jeremiah 32:278
It takes an impossible situation for the Lord to do a miracle, so impossible situations challenge our faith, as they show us that without Him we can do nothing.9 He wants us to give Him the glory, and He wants us to see that He is all-powerful and He can do whatever He wills and whatever He wishes, no matter what the circumstances are. He also allows such situations so we’ll get desperate with Him and depend on Him.
So we shouldn’t complain when impossible situations come up, and groan and think, “Oh no, what a problem. What are we going to do now?” We should accept it as a challenge to eagerly look forward to God’s solutions, anticipating by faith what the Lord is going to do, because it’s exciting to see Him work.
The more impossible situations there are, the more miracles the Lord does, and the more faith we have for the next time. Every time the Lord overcomes and does the miracle, it increases our faith for the next time. And each time our faith grows so that we continually look forward more and more to the challenge of “What’s the Lord going to do this time?” “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Wordof God,”10 and in each of these cases we certainly do have to cling real close to the Lord and His Word, and our faith is increased each time. So praise the Lord for His wonderful victories!
Importance of praying for little things
“Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.”—1 Chronicles 16:1111
One of the ways that the Lord uses to get us into the habit of constantly praying is to teach us to pray for the little things. Because if we only pray for the big things, the big things don’t usually come along very often, at least not often enough to force us to make a habit of prayer. But the little things are always with us, and if we get into the habit of praying for the little things that come along, then we will automatically get in the habit of praying for everything—big or small.
Another reason why we need to faithfully pray for the little things is that it’s a sign to the Lord that we want Him to be a part of every aspect of our lives, of our entire life, instead of just bringing Him in for the “important” situations.
The Lord has the answers
“[A]s long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.”—2 Chronicles 26:512
It’s so marvelous how the Lord can take something that to our minds seems so difficult and confusing, and then He shows us how really clear and simple it can be when He speaks to us and opens our eyes. It’s so often the case that when things seem real difficult and muddled and we can’t seem to find any kind of solution, when things look just unbelievably complicated, if we’ll just go to the Lord and desperately seek Him, He gives us the simplest answer that we look at in amazement and say, “Why in the world didn’t I ever see that? Of course I should have seen that. How dumb of me!”
With Him even the most difficult, complicated subjects can suddenly become straightforward and clear. Praise the Lord.
Originally published March 1990. Adapted and republished August 2014.
Read by Irene Quiti Vera.
2 Hebrews 3:13; 10:24.
3 Proverbs 3:6.
4 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
5 Proverbs 3:6.
7 John 9:4.
9 John 15:5.
10 Romans 10:17.