If You Did Only One Thing with Your Life, Would it be Prayer?
The skies themselves testified my departure from the industry of Christian music, or so it seemed to this melodramatic fool looking for a sign.
Handing in my corporate key fob, I walked through the doors at 101 Winners Circle for the last time. It was 5:30 PM, January 5, 2009. A warm weather front had temporarily convinced me that it did not “winter” in Nashville, but the skies were tornado dark, brooding, and pouring down rain as if God and the devil were fighting overhead.
As much as part of me felt a sense of spiritual exuberance in having chosen the hard path of following Jesus, even more of me wondered what in the world I was to do with myself.
Transitioning from a gigantic workload and a generous salary to no load and no salary was only the beginning. I had followed my heart (possibly even followed Jesus), where the strings of optimistic fortitude carried me along like a balloon scene from the movie UP. It was all warm and fuzzy until I woke up on January 6th.
I had stepped out of the boat, but now my problem was knowing where to step next. I had made the assumption that I would somehow fairy-float from one world right into the next, without ever experiencing the pain, discouragement, and insecurity of transition.
Though naively misguided on countless levels, I was sincere. Beyond anything I had to bring to the table, the Spirit of God proved to be a Counselor and Helper of the highest order. Not only did He invite me to sit at the table, but He also began the process of deconstructing me so I could be repurposed for a vision sweeter and more excellent than my own.
How and where did God meet me?
He planted a seed in my heart to commit to doing one thing with my life, even if I was never able to do it very well.
That one thing, the big plan God gave me, was prayer.
In the early days of ministry life, I found myself with time in great abundance, meaning it was relatively easy to pray without ceasing.
I’m retracing fond memories of the early years when our ragtag crew at Come&Live! would start the day in prayer lasting sometimes for many hours, even to the point of one or more of us falling into slumber. It was not uncommon for someone to experience spiritual deliverance, physical healing, or a deep revelation from God - simply overflowing from a normal time of prayer.
Jesus called me, ten years ago, to the action of advancing His kingdom through prayer. He is calling you and me, right now, to continue advancing His kingdom through prayer.
If I only did one thing for the rest of my life, would I choose prayer? Would you?
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:6-13, ESV)
I’m convinced that my greatest successes in life are directly attributable to prayer.
One of my desires (though, again, I don’t pull this off perfectly at all) is to spend 30+ minutes in prayer as the first thing I do in the morning, and to dialogue with Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as frequently as possible throughout my day.
If, like me, you often don’t know where to start in prayer; start with the Lord’s prayer.
Maybe it’s hard for you to pray this prayer because you’re in a season that’s more than challenging. Maybe you’ve recently lost your father to a heart condition, you wonder how you’ll help pay for your daughter’s college education, your spouse has been sick, you question your calling or wonder who you even are.
Declare and pray Jesus’s words over your circumstances:
Father in heaven, your kingdom come and your will be done over:
The earthly loss of a dad (or any other loved one).
Our kids, including college and all future challenges they will face.
The sickness a spouse has been experiencing.
Identity and calling.
If you only do one thing with your life, pray.
When I fail to pray, I miss the one thing that moves my heart closest to reality and closest to peace.