One of the most important things any follower of Jesus Christ can do is spend time with God. As a parent, if you plan to teach your children the foundations of the Christian faith, you will need to make sure you have an active prayer life yourself. This doesn’t happen automatically. You must be intentional about spending time with the Lord. In other words, if you don’t set aside some time and protect that time, it likely won’t happen. Choose a time that works best for you
That sounds like a no-brainer, but you must choose the time and set it aside. Put it on your calendar, if that helps you. Protect and guard this time as best you can. Consider it sacred time.
Be realistic. If you only have ten minutes, set that aside. If you have thirty, set that aside. As you grow in your relationship with God, you will likely struggle with the reality that no matter how much time you set aside, it won’t be enough. When you really love someone you crave time with that person. Your relationship with God is even greater and you will likely find yourself craving more and more time with Him.
Give your prayer time top priority in your life. As best you can, don’t allow anything to overtake prayer priority.
Many busy parents cannot choose the same time every day. That’s perfectly ok. You might not be able to set aside the same amount of time every day. One day you might be able to devote 15 minutes, but on another day, 5 is all you can give.
Turn off your cell phone, tablet, TV, radio, or whatever might distract you. Close your office or room door. Get alone somewhere. Have a conversation. Don’t worry about the words you choose, but talk with the Father in a conversational way. Tell Him everything on your heart and mind. Read the Lord’s Model Prayer from time to time (Matthew 6:5-15).
Divide your alone time with God between listening and talking. God speaks through the Bible and through His Spirit. As you read and study your Bible, listen for ways God is teaching you. As you pray, listen in your heart for God’s direction for your day and for your life.
Finish with determination
Your time alone with God should be life-changing as well as mind-changing. Ask for God’s strength to live out the things you talked with Him about in your time alone. Your goal is not to check off a religious activity, but to grow closer to the Creator of the universe, the Author of life. And ask your children and spouse to join you. There is no sweeter moment in a family routine than growing closer to God together.
I like to start every day with solitude, just God and me. I usually spend fifteen minutes or so reading from the Bible following one of the many Bible-reading plans on Bible.com. Then I spend about another fifteen minutes or so in prayer and meditation, reflecting on the things I read and listening for His leadership and direction. I then remind myself of a truth: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV.
What are some insights or struggles you have with your prayer life?