The New Year is already off to a brisk start; the holiday season flew by! During this time of year, people often reflect on their lives and think about those things they would like to improve, things they wish they could change. Some people want to lose weight. Some want to get a better job. How many people think about their priorities? How many evaluate the way they use their time? The way we spend our time tells a tale. It tells what we hold most dear. It tells those around us what is most important in our lives.
The world we live in is so hectic that we often run out of time for things we fully intended to accomplish-sometimes very important things. We are constantly complaining that there just “isn’t enough time in the day” to get everything done. Is that truly the problem? We have the same 24 hours, the same seven days a week that mankind has had since the beginning of creation. So, why do we struggle with “getting things done?” Solomon in his wisdom said, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). So maybe the problem is that our priorities aren’t in the correct order.
I have six-year-old twins and a four-year-old, all of whom play little league sports. Practices are held two days a week, and at some point each of my kids has had to miss some or all of one of the weekly practices because it fell on Wednesday evening. We had to prioritize what was most important to us…sports or worship. Mark tells us “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (12:30). How can we love God with all we have if we prioritize ball practice (or hunting, or shopping, or sleeping, etc.) over worship?
If we are to have our priorities in the correct order, God MUST be number one. This is not done simply by skipping a few ball practices, or by attending services three times a week. Keeping God first requires consistent time in His Word and in prayer. The key word being “consistent.” Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” That is easily said, but how can we actually do it?
There has to be more to it than simply reading and memorizing the Bible. Even Satan knows the Scripture! He quotes Psalms 91:11-12 to Jesus when he is tempting him in the wilderness. Satan would love for us to be comfortable simply reading the Bible, even on a daily basis, but never really focusing and reflecting on what it says. It is imperative that we study (not just read) God’s Word daily.
Making studying the Scriptures a daily priority not only draws us closer to God (James 4:8), but it gives us strength and encouragement. Paul tells the Romans, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Hope is a beautiful thing.
The perfect pairing with daily Bible study is our daily prayer life. By combining the two, we can make great strides in our desire to keep God as our first priority. Romans 12:12 tells us, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Similarly we are told to “pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17), to “continue steadfastly in prayer” (Col 4:2), and to “[pray] at all times” (Eph 6:18). Obviously, God wants us to understand just how important prayer is.
As with most things, we tend to have valleys and peaks in our prayer life. I remember a time in college when I managed to get in the habit of praying every night before I went to sleep and every morning before I got out of bed. Those were not the only times I prayed, but these were deliberate, purposeful times I sat aside. There were nights I went to bed late and had trouble getting to sleep. Almost every one of those times I realized I had forgotten to say my prayer, and after doing so drifted off without problem. This was a definite peak in my prayer life. It was also a peaceful, happy time in spite of the stresses and struggles of college life. It is amazing what can be accomplished with a fervent prayer life.
Through prayer Elijah was able to stop it from raining for three and a half years, as well as bring down fire from heaven. He had faith that God would answer his prayers, and continued praying until He did. Daniel also understood how important prayer was. So much so that he continued his daily prayers to God, even knowing the law had been passed forbidding it. He knew he would likely be thrown to the lions, but he prayed anyway. It was that important…enough to risk his life for. Do I hold prayer that dear, that important? Is it that vital in my life?
Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” My prayer for all of us is to bring our prayer lives to a peak, and to find the peace that only communion with God can provide.
Sisters, having a life of consistent, daily Bible study and prayer is an amazing thing. It takes work, just as anything worth having or doing does, but it is worth the effort! Listen to these words from Solomon; seek wisdom and understanding through sincere study and prayer:
My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
By Christie Roberts
Christie and her husband Billy live in Ringling, OK with their three precious children. Christie has a B.A. in English, but is blessed to be able to stay home to care for her family. They worship with the Lone Grove church of Christ where Billy serves as a deacon. Christie enjoys writing and helping with various Bible classes as well as any other opportunities God provides.