When approaching prayer (or anything else for that matter), it is good to ask the question “Why?” “Why am I doing this?” “What is it supposed to accomplish in my life.” As I see it, one of the primary goals of all prayer is a changed life. If our prayer does not affect our life then something is wrong. After all, we do not spend time in prayer to change God or form Him, but rather, that He might change us and form us. If this is indeed being done, we should expect to see our prayer time with the Lord spilling over into the other areas of our life. Granted, this may take some time and we need to be patient, but it should happen.
One of the dangers, though, of having a specific prayer time each day is confining our awareness of God to that time alone. It is easy to adopt the attitude that we have put our time in with the Lord and now we are free to do as we please. But what we should be hungering for is the renewed mind that Paul speaks of in Romans 12:2. We need to grow continually in our awareness of God’s presence in all the areas of our life. As we do this we will find that we are much more able to do all things as “unto the Lord ( Col. 3:23).”
In this regard I believe that the gift of tongues is especially helpful. When praying in tongues we do not need to bring our full attention to our prayer. Thus, we can still give our attention to the task at hand, and yet unite ourselves to the Lord of All in active prayer. It would be good for us to pray in tongues often – not necessarily aloud though depending on the situation. As I have grown in praying in tongues I am finding that when I shift gears – like finishing a conversation and walking away, for example – my first inclination is to pray in tongues. I must admit that I have embarrassed myself a few times when doing this.
A silent awareness of God’s presence is also desirable. Our Father has chosen to unite Himself with us through Jesus by the action of the Holy Spirit. So every action we perform, from formal prayer to taking out the garbage, is done in His presence. As we become more and more aware of this, praise and adoration will become a way of life for us. When I speak of an awareness of the Lord’s presence I am not necessarily meaning that we feel it. As we know our feelings ebb and flow. They are not always reliable. What I mean can be described by something Bert Ghezzi often said: “I just know it with my ‘knower.’” As a married man I know that I am in union with my wife Barbara, regardless of how I am feeling at the time. It’s the same way with the Lord. As we grow in faith we just “know.” It always seems to come down to faith, doesn’t it?
Let us not brand any of this as too difficult or impossible to achieve. Jesus suffered, died, rose, and ascended so that it could happen. It takes a lot of grace but He is generous with an abundant supply. May we let Him have His way!