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Prayer: Our Time-Saver

 

Memory Verse: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2; Ephesians 5:15-16

I. Do you ever feel as if you don’t have enough time? Routine chores, urgent tasks, and distractions can make our days busy but unproductive. We often have little time left over to accomplish God’s purposes.

How can we make the most of our lives? The secret is connecting with our heavenly Father. When we walk hand in hand with God, obedient to each command, we will be sure to fulfill all He has planned for us. Prayer is life’s greatest timesaver.

II. Prayer in the Life of Jesus

A. Our Lord never hurried or became anxious. Although He had only three and a half years to accomplish His mission, He knew when to retreat and spend time with the Father.

B. Jesus prayed early in the morning and in the evening; He prayed in front of His disciples and alone in the wilderness. Before choosing the Twelve, He prayed all night (Luke 6:12).

C. Those who have made the greatest impact for God’s kingdom have at least one trait in common with Jesus: they were men and women of prayer.

III. Prayer as a Timesaver

Talking to God helps us use time wisely because it . . .

A. Provides timely direction: In emergencies, prayer can give us clear guidance and eliminate confusion. When King Jehoshaphat heard that three armies were on their way to attack Israel, he immediately sought the Lord through fasting and prayer. God gave him a war strategy that resulted in victory (2 Chron. 20:3-25).

B. Prevents wrong decisions: Prayer can help us avoid costly mistakes. The apostle Paul set aside his plans when the Lord redirected his missionary journey (Acts 16:6-9).

C. Eliminates worry and anxiety: As believers, we don’t have to fret (Phil. 4:6-7); God has everything under control. If we follow His will, we should have peace. When we feel unsettled spiritually, He may be trying to warn or redirect us.

D. Produces peacefulness: If we begin each day with God, He will help us remain calm. Feeling tranquil can increase productivity and help to avoid sin (Ps. 119:133).

E. Invites God into our activity: If we ask, the Father will help us use time well (Prov. 3:5-6).

F. Produces confidence: When we have clear guidance from God, we can move ahead boldly and quickly.

G. Sharpens discernment: Prayer increases our ability to see past the surface to what is happening spiritually. Trust that God will reveal His direction for your life—perhaps not immediately, but at just the right time.

H. Gives us energy: Prayer can rejuvenate us when we are exhausted. The Lord is our strength: it is unusual not to feel renewed energy after spending time with Him.

I. Prevents distractions: Each morning, ask God what you are supposed to accomplish and request that He help you avoid needless activities.

J. Reminds us to act now: Perhaps you have procrastinated or forgotten to do something. Through prayer, God can motivate you to accomplish such tasks.

K. Protects us from discouragement: Talking to the Lord reminds us of His perspective. How can we be discouraged if our loving heavenly Father is in complete control and has our best interests in mind?

L. Opens doors of opportunity: Paul asked the Colossians to pray that “God will open up to us a door for the word” (Col. 4:3). Prayer creates opportunities where none existed before.

M. Helps us discern between busyness and fruitfulness: Don’t say yes to every opportunity: prayerfully consider which ones God has ordained for you to pursue.

IV. Conclusion:

How often do you spend focused solitary time in conversation with your heavenly Father? I hope that you will make prayer a priority. Every morning, commit your day to Him. Ask for His guidance to help you avoid distractions, and listen for His voice. You will be amazed at how effective and fruitful you can be for His kingdom.

(By Dr. Charles F. Stanley.Copyright 2012 In Touch Ministries, Inc.)