For those of us highly involved in Kingdom work, we are always on the run. There are meetings and phone calls, travel and engagements that have us running from dawn ‘til dusk.
I’m thankful for innovations that grant increased productivity in less time. We can have the Bible in the palm of our hand thanks to YouVersion, read to us by David Suchet, or watch The Lumo Project’s stunning visual representation. However, when it comes to prayer, we’ll never be able to cram more of it into less time.
I recently met with thought leaders and influencers in South Florida to coach emerging professionals. I was supposed to talk to them about trends and best practices in Missions. Instead, I was moved to share a different message on creating a culture of prayer to increase their productivity and combat threats and burnout.
I believe so fully in the power of prayer–I’ve seen too many miracles not to. This is why we value setting aside multiple work days per year dedicated to corporate, intercessory prayer. It’s critical that we expand our prayer covering before we head into new fields and that we bathe our partners, staff, and families in prayer. We would be remiss to head into new mission fields without the protection, covering, and blessing of being surrounded in prayer.
I grew up on the mission field with parents who valued time in God’s Word and prayer above all else. It’s how we started every single day. To this day, time in God’s Word and time in prayer remain two of the non-negotiables on my calendar. If my schedule demands those slots, I’ll simply wake up earlier–even if it means the middle of the night–in order to not shorten, hurry, or sacrifice that critical time in God’s Word and in prayer.
My dad is one of the best examples and teachers of the importance of a vibrant prayer life. He is constantly speaking “breath prayers” – talking to God all throughout the day. It’s as natural to him as breathing and just as important to his life. (If you want to learn more about breath prayers, read Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard J. Foster)
The more responsibilities we have, and the busier we get, the harder it will be to protect these sacred disciplines. We may be tempted to skip or shorten our prayer time, but we cannot afford to do so. Expanded responsibility and escalated opportunities in life and ministry require a proportionate increase in God’s Word, and especially in the life-saving, life-giving act of prayer.