In the mid-1960s my family moved from a quiet suburb a few miles north of Los Angeles, California, to a much more cosmopolitan suburb a few miles east of Los Angeles. Our move meant that I would begin my high school career at an academy where I knew practically nobody.
One of my enduring memories of that experience was sitting in first-period biology class and listening to the teacher share a devotional thought from the book Are You Running With Me, Jesus?
The idea that prayer should be practiced outside a few structured, defined moments such as morning devotions and prayers before meals and at bedtime was new and shocking.
I’d read these words about Jesus’ prayer life: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). And those words were always accompanied with the encouragement that we should likewise begin each day early in the morning with a few moments of quiet prayer, study, and reflection.
Problem was: I hated getting out of bed in the morning.
Beyond that, I also thought that our devotional experience is something that has a beginning and an end, like taking a shower or eating breakfast. When you’re finished, you go on to something else.
But that’s not how it really works. Spending 10, 30, or 60 minutes with Jesus in “worship” may be desirable, but our devotional life has to follow us throughout the day. It does us no good if we leave it behind on our nightstand with our Bible and the Sabbath school quarterly or devotional book. In order to be spiritually strengthened throughout the day, we have to stay in contact with Jesus wherever we go, whatever we do.
Even though we’ve been told to try to be like Daniel, who prayed three times a day; or David, who prayed “evening, morning, and noon” (Psalm 55:17), we shouldn’t confine our prayer time only to certain times of the day.
Life doesn’t stand still. We can use a few moments of quiet devotion each morning before things get busy, but we can’t depend on those few moments to get us through the day. We have to be guided by God’s Word, a constant connection with Christ, and continually being open to the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). We should talk to God throughout our day—He loves hearing from His children!
—This article has been excerpted and modified for KidsView; to read the entire piece, see pages 26-27 in the July 26, 2012, Adventist Review.
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