I've been there and have to admit sometimes I still let my everyday priorities get out of whack!
Perspective. Way too often I think of prayer as some service I do for God like a favor. The opposite is much more true. Prayer is deliberate communication with the Lord. It's how we acknowledge him in all our ways so he can direct our paths. If we don't remain connected to him through prayer and interaction with his word, we will not have his mind. We'll have our carnal, fleshy, wicked mind...
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8)
Position. The Bible doesn't make any one position (kneeling, bowing, etc., ) a requirement. I remember in a prayer meeting years ago, a fellow minister regularly walked around the room and prayed. That was new to me, but soon I was doing it. I found it particularly helpful during early morning prayer! Don't be bound by the idea that one physical position is more “holy” than others. God is more interested in the position of our heart then the position of our bodies.
There are times when kneeling is absolutely the right way to approach our God. Sometimes we need to humble ourselves and honor him as The Almighty God who has no equal. There is none beside him; No one above him. He is our friend, but he is also our King.
Time of Day. Starting the day with prayer is always a good thing, but what if you're not a morning person? Since the Bible doesn't stipulate any one time of day over another for prayer, we shouldn't either. Some of us are sharp in the morning, while others are night owls. You might be at your best during a midday work break. No matter the time of day, be realistic with who you are and make an appointment with the Lord when you're most fresh.
Prayer Length. Here's a question for you: Who is going to be more physically fit: the person who works out ten minutes a day everyday, or the person who exercises for an hour once a week?
The Bible doesn't command us to pray for a certain amount of time, but our love for God should motivate us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). If you're like me, you've set some unrealistic prayer goals for yourself only to fall short and feel guilty. How about we do something very different. Let's lay a foundation of some ultra-realistic goals that are simple to reach and build from there. Consider this: The person who prays 10 minutes a day for 7 days will have prayed longer than the person who prays for an hour once a week. The same goes for Bible reading. I agree that it's the quality and not the quantity of time that's important, but most of us have neither. Look at this as a place to start.
Tools. For Bible reading, I use the One-Year Bible (KJV) by Tyndale House Publishers. Everyday I get portion of the OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs. It's all in one book and at the end of the year, I've read through the whole Bible. For about the last 15 years, the One-Year Bible and coffee is how I've started my mornings.
If a Bible reading chart works for you, great. Use it! If you'd prefer to take a book of the Bible and get into it, do that! Whatever tool or plan works for you, use it to help you stay in the Bible daily.
For Prayer, I'm going to suggest a timer. (A timer?) We can do almost anything for 10 minutes, can't we? But how often have we said or thought, “I don't have time to pray.” I think there's something about us psychologically that needs to know how long something is going to last before we commit. "2 hours, are you kidding??? 10 minutes? Okay, I can do that."
Try this: Start by praying the scriptures. Open your KJV Bible to Psalm 103 and read out loud of the praises to God and the promises from God. Then confess any sins, seek forgiveness, make your requests known, praise the Lord for his goodness, then be still and listen. Prayer is 2-way communication. Give him time to speak. You will be amazed just how fast 5 or 10 minutes passes. You'll soon find that the timer will go off, but you won't be done. 10 minutes will become an effortless 15 minutes or more a day and your relationship with Christ will deepen dramatically. In his presence, you'll discover greater peace in your life while hearing his voice more frequently throughout the day.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalms 16:11)
Have ideas for daily devotion, prayer and Bible reading? Share them in the comments below!