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Making Prayer a Priority

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Luke 5: 15-16

Giant’s Causeway, Ireland  - Photo by Holly Banner

Nature is where I most feel the presence of God. There is something about experiencing the awe of His handiwork that helps me commune with and appreciate the beauty of all He has created. Rich and I love to travel, and seeing new places enhances our understanding of the beauty of this world. The picture I included in the devotion is in Giant’s Causeway, Ireland. Experiencing the unique geological formation and natural beauty is a testament to the wonders of God.

Even in our community, one can experience the solitude of nature. The Manassas Battlefield is closeby, and provides a contemplative environment where one can commune with nature and feel more in unity with God. We can go to our backyards, or even on our computers to find peaceful scenes and music (I routinely use ocean sounds). I can converse with God, like I am catching up with an old friend. Prayers are not meant to be one-sided- but conversational and two-sided.

There is a tendency to make a to-do list for God when we pray. We should bring out concerns to God- not because he does not know about them, but because it helps us grow in faith. We may not get the answers we want- but we learn more about Him when we rely on Him.

There are many books about praying, and formulas. The Lord’s Prayer is the best model for how to pray formally. Some key components in prayer are: expressing wonder/worship, repentance, gratitude, accepting His will, and expressing our needs. As we become closer to Jesus, we will “pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you). and have mini-conversations with the Lord throughout the day.

Finding the best time to pray is essential. For me, morning is the best time for Bible reading, devotion and prayer, and praying in the evening (as well as shorter prayers throughout the day). Sometimes my consistency falters, but I strive to do better the next day. If we can find an accountability partner, we can challenge ourselves and grow in this spiritual discipline.

Dear Lord, thank you for Your Son, the Holy Spirit, and Your Word. We are sorry for not praying to you as often as we should, and for placing our own needs selfishly before you rather than putting concerns of others before you. Help guide us to be like Jesus, making prayer a priority, and seeking communion with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About Holly Banner

Holly loves the outdoors, photography, travel, and learning languages. She is Lay Delegate to Annual Conference, member of three other committees, LGBQ Framework, Watch Party Planning, and Discipleship Team. She and Rich are longtime members who have three adult children: Mitchell, Brendan and Miranda.

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