In his book Serious Times, James Emery White points out that “prayer is not meant to be an experience-driven event. If it were, I know that I would be extremely frustrated and greatly discouraged. I doubt I would pray as often as I do. Instead, prayer is relationship driven. I pray because I am in a relationship with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, and apart from prayer I would not have much of a relationship.

“I enter communication, conversation and communion with God through prayer. It is when I lay out the pieces of my life on God’s altar and when He then returns them to me anew (Psalm 5:3).

“So, like many others, I come to God daily for prayer.

“Often empty, often having to woodenly plod through the acrostic ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) as my soul often needs help to find its way, I tell God I love Him, and offer Him praise for who He is; I confess my sins—specifically, graphically—as my mind scrolls through the day before; I thank God for all that I have been given, acknowledging that every good and perfect gift comes from above; and I ask Him for help—to intervene, to provide, to come to my rescue.

“And it matters.

“I have found that prayer, no matter how dry, forced, or mechanical it might be, opens my life to a longer conversation and communication with God throughout the day. It is as if my morning prayer invites Him into the flow of things and sets Him prominently in the forefront of my thoughts and feelings. From this, I am able to engage the world I live in—and which lives in me—with a transcendent mooring instead of a temporal one. My inner world is transformed, for it is wrenched away from life lived on the hurried, frantic level of activity and thrust into the eternity of soul and spirit.

“There God speaks, corrects, reminds, renews. I then find myself able to walk through the world with sharpened eyes, increased sensitivity to the Spirit’s promptings, heightened insight and deepened wisdom.

“Even more, when I have come to God in prayer and asked for Him to infuse my life with His power and provision, I tap into the resources of heaven itself.

“Apart from this, I can do nothing.” (adapted from White’s book Serious Times: Making Your Life Matter in an Urgent Day, published by InterVarsity Press)

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