I sat up with my body aching all over. I reached out to rub my throat. I felt that familiar feeling in my throat. Not only did I sleep off while praying, I was even snoring! I was just tired, I stood up from the cushion and walked to my room, stretching as I did.
My mom had been on a trip for the past two weeks. I am running the role of a mother, well more of a cook. I had work and by the time I am getting home by 7, I am pulling my wristwatch with one hand and removing my belt with the other. I throw my shoes around and don’t bother to even change my wear.
What happened yesterday mustn’t repeat itself. I was so tired and in such a hurry that as I turned the pepper can to just sprinkle a little on the soup, the cover fell off and the almost the whole pepper can had emptied in the bubbling soup.
‘Oh, my heavenly Father!’ I shouted as I tried to remedy the soup. Thankfully, not much pepper was left in the can. That didn’t stop my intended egusi soup from automatically becoming pepper soup.
As I stood in front of my mirror, I tried to remember when last I had a real prayer. I mean, one where I didn’t fall asleep. I sat in front of the mirror and examined my face that had different strokes from sleeping on a cushion. My mom came back that weekend and I went back to my normal routine. Still from time to time, I find that it is very easy to slip into the very busy world and get distracted.
I just imagine how other people cope, people busier than myself, mothers of many children, CEOs, student workers… How do they even have time to pray or study their bibles?
A lot of Christians still sometimes see prayers as a chore. Something you must do and yet, you don’t have the ‘time’ to do so. And that ought not to be.
“God, our relationship with God is unarguably the most important in our lives.”
Still, work, chores, family, business has posed as a major distraction and we almost don’t have time for this very important thing. The devil has even gone ahead to create more distractions: bad roads, traffic at every turn, and the internet! It has just become so easy to become carried away and go a whole day without praying. You leave the house rushing, telling yourself that you would pray before bedtime. When it is now bedtime, you sleep off as you sing the first chorus. Not only do you go all week without communing with God, you now have body pains as a bonus as a result of sleeping off on your knees.
I believe there are some ways to ensure that irrespective of your busy schedules, you can still maintain a burning prayer altar and a seamless relationship with your Father in heaven. I’d love to share them with you. I hope they help you.
You need to first understand that prayer is communication with God. And God is your father. Can you briefly close your eyes and just picture that for a second? You can open them now. I know some of you didn’t close your eyes o, wehdone saaa, wehdone maa!
But really, how do you talk to your father? Can you just imagine such a sweet relationship with God; one without barriers or timetables. You know, I used to think that if I am not kneeling with my hands clasped in front of me, I haven’t started praying o. It’s funny how I never get to pray that way these days and it is even funnier how I always sleep off in that position. We sometimes have in our head certain ideas of the time to pray (early in the morning or late at night) or the place (secret place; let’s say one corner in your room). But our God in omnipresent. He is everywhere! More so, the believer is the temple of God. Let me break it down: the believer houses God… So you can talk to Him anywhere and at any time! God hears you still and communicates back to your spirit man too.
Another beautiful thing about this is how this keeps you ever conscious of who you bear on your inside. So, you don’t go about cussing at every driver that drives roughly by your side or gossiping. And the Holy Spirit, He just keeps you informed and ahead of your day. You grow in love and in the Knowledge of God as you practice this.
What to do When Prayer Becomes a Chore;
1. Build a consistent prayer life.
That is, a consistent flow of communication between you and God… Regardless of what you are doing or where you are.
2. Also, what are you praying about?
Are you the one that wakes up in the morning and just begins to reel out your problems to God? In fact, most days this isn’t you praying. You are complaining. At some point, you’d drift from prayer to worrying. You open your eyes and just start thinking of how much you need to do.
No, learn to give thanks even as you reel out your requests to God. This brightens you up and as you give thanks, faith is built up in your heart as you remind yourself of God’s faithfulness. This better positions you to receive from God.
3. Intercede for others.
Take it upon yourself to pray for others, to pray kingdom advancement prayers. The Pauline prayers (prayers of Paul in the epistles) are a great place to start…
This keeps you from self-centered prayers. And more importantly, that way you are praying the will of God. When you pray the Word, you pray the will of God. Heaven would support and strengthen you.
4. Be honest and truthful to yourself.
Be disciplined. For instance, I am one of those who can sleep anywhere and anytime so long as my body is at rest, meaning I can even sleep standing. I would only be deceiving myself to say I want to pray on my bed. So, I pace about the room. I lift my hands. I kneel (I ensure it is for a short time, so I don’t sleep off)… I just ensure I am not in a position where I am comfortable sleeping. You know what works for you. Be truthful and honest and disciplined.
5. Don’t compare your journey with anyone.
I know sister abc prays for 5 hours every day and even brother xyz who gave his life to Christ last year now prays for 1 hour every day. Still, the bible teaches us that they that compare themselves are unwise. You can be inspired by them but don’t make it your yard stick. Because, when you disappoint yourself, you would feel so guilty that the prayer becomes a chore and that my friend, God don’t like.
God wants you to fellowship with Him from your heart and not because you are in a competition with your cell leader.”
I realized that setting a time table for my prayers was making me feel bad. So, I stopped checking the time when I want to pray, I just go ahead and enjoy God. I discovered that I always feel more fulfilled and I even pray longer than when I am busy checking the time. Besides who uses stopwatch to talk to their father?
So really, do what works for you. Challenge yourself but don’t put yourself under any pressure. For everyone who prays for so long, they started somewhere. You too start from your own ‘somewhere’ and not some else’ finish line.For everyone who prays for so long, they started somewhere. You too start from your own 'somewhere' and not some else' finish line. Click To Tweet
6. Get some spirit filled and uplifting music!
There are some beautiful ministers God has blessed this world with. They always help me pray better. Even when you don’t feel like praying, the anointing in their voice connects with your spirit man and before you know it you are praying in tongues. Make use of such resources, however, don’t overuse them such that if no music, then you can’t pray. Moderation is key in all.
7. Get an accountability partner.
Or a prayer partner. Or a prayer group. Surround yourself with fire people and soon you would become fire.
8. Stop fighting the devil.
Seriously, you need to understand that the devil is a defeated foe since over two thousand years ago! (Col 2:15) God through Jesus has openly shamed the devil and stripped him of all. You are in authority seated along with Jesus. Some prayers exhaust you and that is apart from the fact that they are not scriptural. When you spend all your time and energy shouting and kicking the devil (who is already defeated), when then do you talk to God which is what your business really is?
Every time, people prayed and there was a result in the bible, they were ministering to God and even though they mention their problem to God, they don’t dwell on it. See Acts 4:3-31.
You fight the devil and enforce the will of God upon you and your family from a place of rest and authority in Jesus. You don’t converse with him. Seriously, how can you fight one who is defeated already?
My dear friends, read the bible. Understand your place in Christ and pray from that standpoint.
9. Pray in the Spirit.
I can’t say how much tongues transform peoples’ prayer lives.
Praying in tongues is me saying, “I don’t care if my flesh is in or not, neither do I care if my mind is alert or not… I just go straight and speak to God with my Spirit language”
It is me bypassing my flesh and mind and communicating straight with God from my Spirit man. And have you ever noticed how your body gets energized and you pray from your Spirit man?
See, with tongues, you can never ever go wrong. You are always on track. Praying God’s will.
Whenever you feel weak or tired in my body, just begin to speak or sing in the Spirit. I can’t explain how the energy comes. It is you drawing strength from your Spirit such that even your tired body can’t keep you from praying. That is the power of engaging your Spirit man.
I think what is most exciting for me is how the devil is always confused when you pray in tongues. Kai! Even you (your flesh) can’t stop you when you start. If you want to build a consistent prayer life, build a habit of always praying in tongues. That’s the surest way there is that I know.
10. Finally, make it top priority.
Again, don’t let your busy schedule weigh you down. In fact, you have more time on your hands than you know. What do you while you walk down to the bus park from your house or while you drive to work? Why not pray in the spirit, sing, rejoice in your spirit. Just enjoy God… How about those times you spend waiting on the bus queue or in traffic? You can talk to Him as you prepare breakfast, run through your morning chores or even prepare for work. You can talk to God as you seat in a meeting. You don’t have to move your lips and that’s the beautiful thing.
Make sure that whatever you do and where ever you go, you remain connected to God. Remember, it is as you abide that you bear much fruit (John 15)
Take a cue from Jesus… Master of all time. I don’t think I am busier than Jesus was. Yet, he prayed consistently. He consistently withdrew to pray… Sometimes after the days activities, while his disciples go away, he’d withdraw to pray. Not because he just saw it as a chore or a daily task but because he wanted to. He was already used to fellowshipping with the Father and that’s where he drew strength. So move your prayer from ‘chore list’ to a list of things you do because you want to. The best way to learn how to pray is to pray. Commit to constant fellowshipping with God as your journey through life.
Please do well to share this with as many people as you can. And leave comments too. I am sure there are other ways to ensure praying doesn’t become a chore. Tell us more in the comment boxes, how do you keep your prayer altar burning?
No amount of distraction can keep us off. Prayer is how and where we draw strength. We won’t relent! Team #prayerMachine *winks*