15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. (Luke 5:15-16 ESV)
Jesus was certainly a busy man. Reading through the Gospels, we see the sheer magnitude of his awe-inspiring teachings, ministry, and miracles. As a result, the crowds gathered around him regularly. They wanted Jesus to do the things he was doing in their own lives. But, Luke says, “He would withdraw to desolate places and pray”. We get the sense that this was a regular and irreplaceable part of his life and ministry. Busyness did not push Jesus away from praying and communing with His Heavenly Father. It did the opposite, and we should be like Christ. Our busyness ought to move us to pray and press further into our connection with our Father.
In my own life, I have found this to be true as well. Although sometimes, I admit, in my weakness, I have let busyness do the opposite, and I have neglected needed time with the Father. My wife and I have the privilege and responsibility of raising our three kids to be faithful disciples of Jesus in all aspects of their lives. Our goal is that when they leave our home, our children can go and be disciple-makers in their own families, careers, and lives. This is a big task, and the further we get into it, the busier this task seems to get.
We are now in a season where sports and theater are a regular part of our lives. With a family of five, the schedules fill up quickly. In a lot of ways, it’d be easier to simply let the current of culture take over our family and our lives. But, because we know that is NOT what the Lord has required of us, Tina and I must seek to know Jesus and walk closely with him in His Word and in prayer! Here are some ways we seek to do this:
One thing that has helped me is having a simple 3x5 index card in my pocket at all times. And on that index card (on both sides) are a bunch of names. My wife and kids are at the top of the card, and then there are a host of others who the Lord regularly reminds me to pray for. Whenever I feel that card in my pocket, I pray for some of the names. It’s that simple!
Tina and I also pray for our kids when we put them to bed so they know our walk with Jesus is most important. We pray that they will come to know Jesus, and that they will love Him and walk faithfully with Him every day. Our children need to hear these words. They need to hear their mom and dad praying these things over them. Our hope is that these times in the Word and prayer combined with us showing them how to trust the Lord on a daily basis, will yield faithful disciple-makers in the next stage of their lives!
As a side note, however, most of the time, this exercise of Bible time and prayer with the kids does not feel super spiritual. We do not walk away from it each night thanking the Lord because we are seeing great results at the time. Most of the time we don’t see any results and wonder if they are really taking any of it in. Our encouragement to you, whether you have kids in the home or not, is to press on in times of busyness! Be diligent in your time in the Word and in prayer. If you have kids and grandkids, do those things with them. Let it wash over them consistently. You will probably not see the results until years later, but I promise you the Lord is faithful. His word will not return void. Keep at it…especially in the busyness of life!
Some quick takeaways:
- Make prayer a regular part of your life and the life of your family.
Prayer is how we communicate with the Lord. How will our children learn to pray if we do not pray with them? How will they know the passion we have for Jesus if they do not see us and hear us call out to Him regularly?
- Grab an index card or use the Notes section on your phone to remind you to pray.
Write some names down on it and stick it in your pocket or somewhere else that will remind you to pray regularly…and do it!
- You cultivate your prayer life by disciplining yourself to be in God’s Word regularly.
Our desire to pray grows as we grow in our love for Jesus. This happens when we are regularly in God’s Word. Use the MeadowBrook reading plan to help you digest God’s Word. Then, when you are reading, use a pencil, a highlighter, and a journal or pad of paper to write down thoughts, questions, and short prayers. This is not a quick fix, but over time, being in God’s Word regularly will mature you in your faith and deepen your prayer life like nothing else.
- Make the most of mealtime (or bedtime) prayers. Don’t repeat the same phrases over and over again. Take some time to make these regular prayer times meaningful.