Prayer is a priceless gift of God to His children. No doubt, it is also the most neglected gift that God has given His children. Over a year ago I started running once again after a long time…and I do mean a long time. I decided to start slow and discipline myself to increase over time. I found that as I consistently ran, my muscles and respiratory system became increasingly stronger and I was able to persevere longer. Had I just focused on the fact that I was out of shape and unable to run I would have never truly started to run again. But  each time I ran, I found greater strength and ability for the next time.

Prayer is a gift from God and we can only pray because we have access to God through Christ and by the power of His Spirit working in our lives. And yet, we must discipline ourselves to actually turn to the Lord in prayer. And as we do, daily and persistently, just like  a person trying to get back into running we will see the Lord developing our prayer life.

Along the way in this pursuit of God in prayer we need encouragement and Psalm 5:3 is a very good place to go for encouragement to pray:

Psalm 5:3 In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.

There are four encouragements that we can receive from this verse.

First, prayer flourishes when it is a priority: “in the morning.”  Things we do in the morning often reflect priority. That is not to say that the Scripture demands that we have a sustained time of prayer in the morning. But by and large that is the best time to have your time of prayer. But whether it is morning, afternoon, or evening, a flourishing prayer life must have an unmovable priority placed upon communing with God in prayer.

Second, prayer flourishes when we recognize God is actually hearing us: “You will hear my voice.”  That sounds simple doesn’t it? But the fact is, if we were more consistently conscious in our hearts that God is hearing our prayers as we speak to Him it would encourage us to pray with more persistence, passion and faith.

Third, prayer is more likely to flourish when we have an ordered approach to prayer: “I will order my prayer.” The word “order” is a word used for armies drawing up into formation. The idea is to arrange or set in order. The Psalmist speaks of his prayer life in terms of a disciplined approach. I have found various methods to help me, but the point is you should seek out a way to order your prayer life so that you are intentionally praying for what matters most. Much could be said here, but just think in terms of some kind of list of prayer requests. Another very important way to “order” your prayer life is to always be watching for passages of Scripture or verses or phrases that say something you know you need to talk to the LORD about on a daily basis. I have found it immensely helpful to have certain verses or phrases written out on my prayer notebook list. There is no doubt  that I am praying according to God’s will when I am praying Scripture!

Fourth, prayer flourishes when we pray and watch for how God will answer: “And eagerly watch.” Another way to say it would be this: Prayer flourishes when we pray in faith. If we pray and then don’t eagerly watch for God to work, are we really praying in faith in the first place? Certainly not. If we really believe God hears us and really does use our prayers to carry out His will then we will watch with great expectation to be amazed at how God personally answers our requests for His glory and our good.

So may we prioritize prayer, be aware God hears prayer, be intentional in our prayer life, and eagerly watch to see how God works through prayer-Amazingly through our prayers!