When my son was a baby, he was not a good sleeper. When he was very small he would sleep during the night, but his naps were short and irregular. As he got a bit older, his sleep was disjointed at all hours. I was given lots of well-meaning advice and I’m sure all of the advice is useful for some babies, but none of it worked for mine. Most of the advice was along the lines of keeping him active, but that NEVER worked. I now have two children, three and five, and if they’re tired they get wound up like they’re having a sugar rush and then I have to force them to crash and it’s ugly. My older sister, however, gave me one piece of advice that has turned out to be very true – Sleep begets sleep.
Basically, my sister’s ideology was if a child doesn’t get enough sleep, the sleep they get is often short and fitful. And it has turned out to be true of my children. If they don’t get their nap, they don’t sleep as well that night. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s not just children. As an adult, if you are accustomed to eight hours of sleep and only get six, you will feel the loss of those two hours, but if you decide you’re going to make up for it the next night, you will only find yourself awake much earlier than you planned.
We can apply it to other areas of our life as well. The more you eat, the more you want to eat. Your stomach will expand and you will be able to eat more food at one sitting. The reverse is also true, the less you eat, the less you want to eat. The more you run, the more you want to run and also, the less you run, the less you want to run.
So, this morning I was thinking about all of this in regard to my prayer life. If you are one of those individuals who has had a consistent prayer and devotional time every day since you were saved, then you are truly my hero. But this has always been a bit of a struggle for me. I can give you lots of excuses, but the fact remains that my time spent in prayer and devotion looks more like rolling hills than a sharp ascent or even a flat-line. And this morning after my quiet time I was so excited about having a prayer time with my sister and calling in to my church’s prayer line at lunch and going on a prayer walk with my family this evening. Because, just like many other aspects in our lives – Prayer begets prayer.
The more you pray, the more you want to pray. It stirs something up in your spirit and you find yourself praying all day. During another prayer-fest of mine, I remember feeling overwhelmed by all the prayer needs that were coming up in my spirit. For family and friends I hadn’t heard from in months or even years. And yet, I would be going through the grocery line knowing as soon as I walked away from the cashier (so I wouldn’t look like a total nut), I needed to pray fervently for my best friend from middle school.
It’s during these times that I can feel the leading of the Holy Spirit the strongest and when the Word feels most alive to me and when every single message I hear is speaking directly to me. Because I’m working out my prayer muscle. It’s gaining strength and the smaller tasks are getting easier, so I’m able to move on to heavier weights and God, in his amazing grace and wisdom, helps to prepare me to carry those heavier burdens to him.
If you feel dry in your faith walk or you want to hear from the Holy Spirit in a bolder way – spend time in prayer. Your life may be overflowing with blessings – still pray. You may not have a minute to spare in your day – still pray. God will take that seed and he will grow it as long as you are faithful to plant and water it. And as for keeping it consistent, well, pray for me! And I’ll do the same for you!