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Sweet Hour of Prayer

There’s an old song called “Sweet Hour of Prayer”.  I used to think that meant praying for 60 full minutes at a time.  When I was in college, I considered that from time to time, and frankly, it was pretty intimidating.  How could someone pray for 60 minutes in a row?  I was so used to activity, planning, and thinking about different things (maybe homework, but probably not), that this was a pretty difficult idea to fathom.  But, one day, I decided to tackle it – I checked the clock, and spent an hour in prayer.  It wasn’t all just talking to God: I think that I listened to some Christian music for part of the time, and maybe read the Bible, but it was quiet time.  Believe it or not, I survived!

Although I now realize that the “Hour” of prayer in the song was probably just a period of time when the composer would pray, and not necessarily a 60-minute block of time, my experience was a good one to look back to and reflect upon.  I now know that I could take a block of time, and give it to God without having to 1) plan it all out, or 2) always be doing something else.

Here’s my challenge for you today: Give God a block of your time, spent just with Him.  It doesn’t have to be an hour – start with 20 minutes if that’s all you think you can manage.  During that time, close the door, turn off the text alerts on your phone, and consider including activities like the following:

  • Go through your prayer list, and talk with God about some people or situations that maybe you haven’t in a while.  (Don’t have a prayer list?  Just write down a few things you’d like to talk with God about.  It doesn’t have to be fancy; the important thing is to start.)
  • Read Acts 3:1-10, or Acts 12:1-17, to see something amazing that God did in another “hour of prayer”.
  • Listen to see what God has to say, whether about your prayers or what you’ve been reading in the Bible.
  • Look up the words to the song, “Sweet Hour of Prayer“, and think about what the author of that song felt about his time with God.

Then, see if this is something you could try again tomorrow (or next week).  It might just become a habit, but if not, you will have given God a gift and I think you will find some rewards as well.

For more reading on this subject, see also:

 

A version of this devotion originally appeared at fcccanton.com, as a Study Guide for the September 15, 2013 message, “Getting Control of Your Schedule”.

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