As my son prepares for his freshman year of high school soccer, I am reminded of some of the choices I have had to make in my life. When I was his age, I had two decisions. The first was football. Before I had a "career ending" back issue, I was determined to be a great high school football player and play in college. As a freshman, some of the coaches compared me to a former student at the same school years earlier who went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys. I had to decide if I wanted to walk that path. That meant more than the few weeks of the football season. It meant everyday choices of whether or not to workout and what I would eat or not eat. The same came to playing trumpet. After my football "career" was over, I gave myself full throttle to my trumpet. Each
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of developing a prayer life, there is a very important question that you must answer for yourself. Nobody else can make the choice for you. Nobody else can do what needs to be done to accomplish it. The question is this - how close do you want to be to Jesus? As we will see, prayer is primarily about building a relationship, not getting the things we want from God. So, the first question to resolve in your own heart and mind is one of motivation.
If prayer is nothing more than something you ought to do as a Christian, or something to be done out of duty, you will lack the motivation to make the necessary sacrifices. However, if your heart burns to be as close to Jesus as possible, nothing will be more important to you than doing whatever it takes.
You see, each day will present choices. As a teenager, I had to decide if I just wanted to hang out with friends, play video games, watch TV, or spend time practicing my trumpet first. If my practicing was out of duty, I would procrastinate or not do it at all, or just put in the minimal amount of effort. If it is my passion, I will not even have to think about my decision. Most days, I would practice my trumpet until my lips had nothing left, then I would find something else to do.
So, what is your motivation to pray? Do you just want to present needs to God or do you want to build a relationship with Jesus? How close do you want to be to Him? Are you OK following from a distance or do you long to press into His heart? The answer will not determine His love for you or whether you will go to heaven or not. However, the answer will make all the difference in your prayer life. So, what will you choose?