When I was in my early twenties, I used to spend a lot of time doing lawn work with my father. I remember one Sunday in particular. We were watching sports together, and during a break, Dad jumped out of his chair and said, “Come on. Let’s go rake the backyard.” With a bit of humor, I replied, “But Dad, today is Sunday, and we shouldn’t work on Sundays.” “Work is prayer, Jeffrey!” he shot back. Not to be outdone, I answered, “No, Dad, prayer is work.”
Prayer can feel like work sometimes, can’t it? Being faithful to daily prayer takes a bit of discipline, but the blessings that we experience far outweigh the effort we put in. In prayer, we can join the angels and saints in worshipping almighty God. We can bring our deepest concerns and heartfelt intentions to the Lord and ask for his help. We can even experience the joy of God speaking to us personally!
My Sheep Hear My Voice. You know, in my forty years of seeking the Lord in daily prayer, I have never heard an audible voice. Most of us probably would say the same. Yet Jesus promised, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). How is this possible? Because we can hear his voice in the silence of our hearts and minds in prayer. What does that voice sound like? Sometimes it’s a comforting voice. Other times, it’s a convicting voice pointing out where we have strayed from the Lord. Most often, it’s an encouraging voice. And it is never a condemning voice.
We also hear the voice of the Lord as we read the Scriptures. The Bible is filled with personal letters that God has addressed to us. It reveals to us God’s deepest thoughts, and it tells us what brings him joy and what brings him sorrow. It also gives us his wisdom on how we should live and on what it means to love one another as he has loved us.
Brothers and sisters, it is a great honor to seek the Lord in daily prayer! In my prayer, I often ask God to bless many situations and people. But even if these prayers sometimes seem to go unanswered, it is still a blessing to give God praise each morning and to honor him as a faithful, loving, and good God. It is still a blessing to ponder what Jesus did for us as he poured out his life on the cross. And it is still a blessing to thank the Lord for making us part of his family, the Church. Even without any other answered prayers, simply sitting with God in prayer is enough to make any of us rich!
So this month, be sure to set aside some time, perhaps fifteen minutes, every morning to sit with the Lord in prayer. Give him these few minutes of your time and watch him bless you thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.