I Know I Need to Pray More. Here's My Plan:

The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life. Many people will pray when they are required by cultural or social expectations, or perhaps by anxiety caused by troubling circumstances. Those with a genuinely lived relationship with God as Father, however, will inwardly want to pray and therefore will pray even though nothing on the outside is pressing them to do so.
— Tim Keller, Prayer

When I read through the gospels, it's not hard to see how much value Jesus placed on prayer. It's clear that he wholly depended on the Father for his strength, wisdom, and direction. It's also clear that he never had a reason not to pray. Today, I want to look at a passage from Luke 6.

12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came... (Luke 6:12-13)

Jesus was a busy man. He was constantly traveling around teaching, healing, and - on some occasions - flipping tables. His busyness did not affect his insistence on setting aside time to spend alone with God. In our particular passage, we find that Jesus - who was most likely tired - spent "all night" praying to God. Luke continues by writing, "and when day came," as if to emphasize the fact that the busy traveling preacher/healer pulled an all nighter just to pray. 

Could he have reasoned with himself that he was "too tired," or that "he had a big day tomorrow"? Of course, he could have. But, we don't see evidence of that. Instead, we see a robust prayer life - one that cuts into other important parts of his day. 

For me, I know that to have alone time in prayer, I have to wake up earlier than my kids. This isn't an easy feat, but it could be if I disciplined myself to do so. What I forget is that by deciding to sleep in, I have chosen an extra hour of sleep over spending time with the Creator of the universe who just so happens to be sanctifying my soul. 

So, what can I do? I know I need to carve out portions of my day in which I can be alone with God, distraction-free, and utterly focused on him. It will require sacrifice, but I know it will be worth it. I would love to be able to pull an all-nighter praying to Jesus.

This week, I'm planning on waking up early enough to begin my day with God alone.

What can you do differently to spend more time with God?