David McIntyre says that “the equipment for the inner life of prayer is simple, if not always easily secured. It consists particularly of a quiet place, a quiet hour and a quiet heart.”
To have good time of prayer, it seems that all three of these need to be secured.
1. A Quiet Place: This seems to be the easiest to secure for most people. There is that special place that we all retreat to at different times. Maybe it is a room, a shed, a chair, a porch, or a place outside by a creek. Most likely you have that special spot where you can retreat. Maybe you are a mother of young children who can never seem to find an escape. Perhaps you can do as this woman:
“A poor woman in the great city, never able to free herself from the insistent clamour of her little ones, made herself a sanctuary in the simplest way. ‘I threw my apron over my head,’ she said, ‘and there is my closet.”
Find your place to be quiet.
2. A Quiet Hour: Often times, we might think that this is the most difficult to secure. There are so many things vying for our attention that we do not have the time to devote to prayer. There are dishes and clothes to be washed, meals to be cooked, homework to be checked or done, ball practices to go to, a little TV watching to do, some Facebook surfing or internet browsing to do, and loads of other fun and not-so-fun things that take up time.
David McIntyre suggests:
Certainly, if we are to have a quiet hour set down in the midst of a hurry of duties, and kept inviolate, we must exercise both forethought and self-denial. We must be prepared to forego many things that are pleasant, and some things that are profitable. We shall have to redeem time, it may be from recreation, or from social intercourse, or from study, or from works of beneficence, if we are to find leisure daily to enter into our closet, and having shut the door, to pray to our Father who is in secret.”
In the previous chapter, McIntrye spoke of the importance of a life of prayer, or habit of prayer throughout the day. However, here he speaks of the importance of a “time” or hour of prayer (not necessarily meaning a full 60 minutes). McIntyre claims that “the two things ought not to be set in opposition. Each is necessary to a well-ordered Christian life; and each was perfectly maintained in the practice of the Lord Jesus.”
McIntyre also speaks of the importance of having this quiet hour of prayer. He says:
“Now, if it was part of the sacred discipline of the Incarnate Son that he should observe frequent seasons of retirement, how much more is it incumbent on us, broken as we are and disable by manifold sin, to be diligent in the exercise of private prayer!”
If Christ who was perfect needed quiet times of prayer, how much more do I? You have the time, redeem it!
3. A Quiet Heart– Often times when I pray I find one or two of the three things missing. Sometimes I have a quiet place and a quiet hour, but no quiet heart. Often times it is hardest for me to have a quiet heart. My mind is constantly thinking about what I have to do next. It takes work to slow down and focus on praying.
I find his tips to be really helpful.1)recognizing our acceptance before God through Jesus. 2) Confessing and receiving the enabling grace through the Spirit. 3)Reading the scripture in the presence of God.
George Muller’s struck a chord with me when he confessed that “often he could not pray until he had steadied his mind upon a text.”
It only makes sense that focusing on God’s Word would help to quiet and steady the heart, preparing us to stand in the presence of God in prayer.
If you have trouble quieting your heart, read the Word of God!
Praying is hard work. Finding a quiet place, a quiet hour, and a quiet heart can be difficult. But, the hard work will certainly be worth it.