One of the things I’ve been building up thanks to the encouragement of my leaders here at Hope Christian Fellowship is a spiritual strength, which I now realize can only come through persevering in prayer and spending time with God.
Here at Hope, it is a requirement for leaders to spend half an hour in prayer every day.
My first impressions when I heard all that – and also when I was nearly forced to journal God-thoughts from my quiet time each day – was that it was all too super-spiritual.
I was impatient, I resented it, and I found it incredibly tough to come to prayer meeting and life group and church every week and still spend all that time in prayer!
(It actually took me a whole three months before I reluctantly committed to prayer meeting.)
Looking back, I can say I have taken a few steps forward in this area. I don’t have it yet – half an hour is still daunting on a busy day, or a day with many exciting distractions, but it is something I have begun to grit my teeth to work through. And I am pleased with the results.
Of course, the factors of increasing familiarity and a sense of belonging to the church and developing a routine contribute to a greater consistency and commitment as well, but if you strip away all that, here’s what I’ve learnt:
1. It is unlikely you will be able to enjoy God just by saying ‘Hi’ and ‘K Thx Bye’ to Him all in five minutes a day! 🙂
2. You develop an increased sensitivity to God’s voice when you give Him ample time to speak. As a result, you gain an increased clarity and sense of purpose as God hones you to use you more effectively and in greater measure. You prevent your heart from getting tugged by every worthy cause out there and every needy individual, and you focus your lightbeam on what He commands while resisting condemnation from the enemy.
3. When hard times come and when emotions crumple, the one thing that can keep you strong is the ability to stand on God’s word and press in to His presence. This faith that God will supply strength does not come out of nowhere: it is slowly developed through consistently spending time in His presence.
4. A strong prayer life helps develop a steadfastness, a spiritual strength that gives you courage and conviction to lead.
5. You need people to encourage you and watch you if you’re real intent on developing this spiritual discipline! It is very easy to let the newly formed habit slip away…so determine to make it a priority and lets go far in God’s kingdom together! 🙂