When my son, Matthew, was about nine, he started asking for a puppy of his own. Although we already had a dog, it wasn’t “his own,” and Matt really wanted a personal pet.
Like many moms would say, I told Matt, “I don’t want another dog. I don’t have time to feed it, train it, and do all of the other things that are required of dog owners!”
You can guess Matt’s response. “I promise—I’ll do it all!” Several weeks before Christmas when Matthew was ten, he shared a dream with my husband and me. “Last night, I dreamed that on Christmas Day a mailman came to our house with a puppy—just for me!” I guess it was the way he said it, because his plan worked. All of a sudden, my husband and I began discussing the possibility of getting him a dog for Christmas.
That Christmas, one of our faithful church members, who was also a mailman, knocked on our door with a package that Matthew had to sign for and open himself—his very own puppy.
Matt loved his new puppy, and he promptly named this yellow Labrador dog Krispy. Their relationship was off to a great start. Any time Krispy whimpered, Matt was there. He fed her, played with her, and occasionally let her sleep in his room. The two were inseparable!
That lasted until about New Year’s Day.
A few days later, the two were still buddies, and Matt still liked Krispy. But he didn’t want to take time to feed her, and he didn’t like to hear her bark. He especially didn’t like to hear my husband and me say in unison, “She’s your dog!” The thrill had worn off, and the responsibility had set in.
Maybe you can relate. When you first got saved, you couldn’t wait to talk to God and read His Word. You would get up early to spend time with Him. Even with your busy schedule, you would make time to pray, and you cherished the answers He gave you in the prayer closet. You lived and breathed for this special relationship between you and your Heavenly Father.
But then, the excitement wore off. Sure, God is still your Friend, and you call on Him when you need Him. But the commitment on your part is lacking.
In any relationship, commitment takes work. It requires personal discipline.
We want results immediately, but at the heart of effective prayer is consistency. In Luke 18:1, Jesus said that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” First Chronicles 16:11 admonishes, “…seek his face continually.” First Thessalonians 5:17 instructs, “Pray without ceasing.”
One of the best examples of consistent prayer in Scripture is Daniel. Through the many years he spent as a captive in Babylon, he carefully and regularly maintained daily communion with God. Daniel’s testimony of faithful prayer was so reliable that even those who sought Daniel’s harm knew he would never stop praying.
These men tricked the king into signing a decree against prayer that carried a stiff penalty—the lion’s den—for whomever disobeyed. (Of course, they knew Daniel would still keep his daily prayer appointments.) Daniel 6:10 records, “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” No threat could keep Daniel from the prayer closet.
What would it take for you to develop this level of consistency in prayer?