In interviews*, Billy Graham, the greatest, most respected evangelist of our time, has said if he had it to do over again, he would study the Bible and pray more. He would travel less and take fewer speaking engagements. “I’d spend more time in meditation and prayer,” he said.
When I heard this years ago, it moved me: If Billy Graham needed more prayer and study of God’s Word, how much more do I need?
In a recent blog, I asked people to respond to some questions about faith and prayer. Most of the responses affirmed people struggle to have a time for prayer and Bible reading. We live in a state of continual tension and constant demands. We’re all caught up in the whirlwind of gotta do’s and gotta go’s. Evidently, Billy Graham struggled with this, too.
But do we really have to live in a frenzy? Is this how God meant time to be? Did He not give us enough hours in a day or days in a week?
Best-selling author Ann VosKamp said:
Solomon, the wise author of Proverbs, said it this
I read one commentator who explained it like this:
Poverty of spirit.
When we don’t take time out for a God fill-up, eventually we feel empty, overwhelmed, and defeated. This results in anxiety and a lack of peace.
But time spent in prayer and the Word yields benefits:
Muchfruit. We, our families, and even our world, will be blessed by our abundant fruit.
What kind of fruit? So glad you asked. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruits of the spirit:
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We can be encouraged by verses like Psalm 1:1-3 NIV:
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither…
[They]… never fail to bear fruit.”
In Romans 12:20, we’re told not to conform to this world. So, where do we find balance between the pressure of the world and the non-conformity to the world?
I’ve struggled with this myself. Here are a few simple actions I have found helpful:
1. Re-evaluate your time. Look closely at your time to find the unnecessaries. When I did this, I wrote down everything I did by 15-minute intervals for several hours. This helped me realize the time wasters that didn’t need to be there. I think many of us can use our time more efficiently. Once you’ve found the unnecessaries, eliminate them and…
2. Rearrange your time. Once you’ve determined how much time you can free up, rearrange your schedule. When in the day will be best to schedule your prayer and Bible time? What time will you choose, and how long will you spend?
I decided to turn off all notifications and schedule time to check my email twice a day. I also schedule my social media time. Knowing I’ll be checking it at a certain time, I’m not tempted to check it at other random times. I also often set the timer on my phone so I don’t get carried away. Social media has a lot of benefits, but it can be a time killer if we’re not intentional.
Now you can make a new plan and…
3. Reclaim your time. Reclaim that time for the Lord and stick to it. Say no to interruptions and distractions. Don’t add things to your schedule if it will interfere. Be diligent.
We get to decide how we spend much of our time.
The way to find time for God is to make time.
Billy Graham said, “Every day has exactly 1,440 minutes; can’t you find even 10 of them to be with your heavenly Father? Doesn’t God deserve the best minutes of your day?”
We can’t change a lot of life’s circumstances, but we can have more peace amidst them. I don’t know anyone in today’s world who does not need more peace, but we won’t get real peace any other place. It is not the above steps which produce peace, it’s what they lead us to — time spent with the only One who can give us true peace.
And the alternative? Jesus went on in John 15:5,
We cannot produce fruit (peace) apart from remaining (abiding) in Him.
Why would Billy Graham say he would pray more and speak less, when he impacted so many lives for Christ? Because, he said, “If you neglect that, you neglect the very heart of God’s call to you.”
‘Satan will contest every hour you spend in Bible reading or prayer.”
Billy Graham (click to tweet)
*Billy Graham interview: http://video.foxnews.com/v/5737900142001/?#sp=show-clips
P.S. Don’t forget to sign up to ‘follow’ my blog so you won’t miss when I post.
I am writing a six-week Bible study called Pursuing God in P.R.A.Y.E.R. – Six Steps to Prevailing Prayer. I would love to share the first week with you free and keep you posted of publication. Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention the code FREE1st.