In 1828, a family of German Protestants named Hermès settled in France and opened a harness shop in Paris. Soon they were selling upscale products to European noblemen, and they haven’t stopped. Today you can still buy high-priced, high-quality Hermès products around the globe. Recently Hermès closed its retail stores in America for three days and flew its 515 employees to an upscale hotel in Princeton. A host of motivational speakers were there to inspire and reinvigorate the company and its sales force. Hermès isn’t alone in engaging motivational speakers today. Many companies rely on inspirational conferences to rekindle enthusiasm, enhance attitudes, and restore focus to employees.
But human advice only goes so far. To find spiritual focus, sit at the feet of the Lord Jesus. Nothing equals the motivation He gives for victorious living, and no one can equal His insight. Best of all, we can arrange a personal meeting every day.
The Priority of Prayer
First we must understand the priority of prayer. Psalm 46:10a says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” He is God, Creator of the Universe, Sustainer of Eternity. Our top priority is being still long enough each day to know Him. We need dedicated periods of silence and solitude for prayer and the Word. Our quiet time is for turning off the noise, unplugging the distractions, and meeting Him. The Bible says, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15b).
This is the attitude of prayer, and it should be a priority for us. Learn to shut the door of your closet (Matthew 6:6); calm and quiet your soul (Psalm 131:2); and say, “Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:9).
The Practice of Prayer
And then we must practice praying—there are three great ways to practice the privilege of prayer. The first way is to pray alone. The biblical heroes knew how to retreat to solitary places and agonize with God in prayer. Jacob wrestled through the night until he found power with God and man. Daniel retired to his private room three times a day for prayer. Christ often withdrew by Himself in prayer. Let’s make sure we do the same.
Second, pray with a prayer partner. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Your prayer partner may be your husband or wife or a friend at church—it can be a partnership that lasts for decades.
Third, pray at church and in groups. One day in 1832, a group of believers gathered on a beautiful spot near Russellville, Ohio, for singing, preaching, and an evangelistic appeal. As the preacher finished his sermon, the sky became overcast with clouds. Everyone’s attention went to an impending storm. There was no way to protect young children or aged adults from the threatening lightning bolts, driving rain, dangerous winds, and crashing trees.
Suddenly a stranger ascended the platform. He asked the assembly to kneel in prayer, and he began to pray softly and earnestly. The man spoke to God, asking Him to grant the people fair weather to worship in the grove. As the man led the assembled crowd in prayer, the clouds began rolling back as if repelled by an invisible force. The sky brightened, then the sun broke through. The stranger who prayed was a local minister named William B. Christie. He went on to preach to the assembly from 1 Corinthians 10:13, and many were converted to Christ.[i] Do not neglect the blessing of corporate prayer.
The Power of Prayer
Finally, remember that there is power in prayer. Cameron V. Thompson wrote, “A day without prayer is a day without blessing, and a life without prayer is a life without power.”[ii] At life’s greatest moments or dullest days, prayer is the conductor that keeps our focus on God, who can do exceeding abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. It changes our lives and motivates us to live each day in the presence and with the power of the Lord. Set your focus on God—prayer changes things!
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org