Occasionally I ask myself, "Why do I spend extended times in prayer?" and the answer is simply this: "I want what God has to offer more than I want anything else." Andrew Murray reminds us, "If once we really felt that intercession is the most important part of our work - the securing of God's presence and power is our first duty - our hours of work would all be made subordinate to this one thing."
If we hunger to be effective in prayer, the time we spend will be important. E. M. Bounds wrote in Power Through Prayer, "Much time spent with God is the secret of all successful praying. Prayer which is felt as a mighty force is the product of much time spent with God....Jacob's victory of faith could not have been gained without that all-night wrestling."
We may think we have faith, but if our faith has not been nurtured by much time in His presence, it is a feeble faith. Faith that is steady under pressure is a result of much time alone with God.
J. Oswald Sanders wrote in his book Spiritual Leadership, "Mastering the art of prayer, like any other art, will take time, and the amount of time we allocate to it will be the true measure of our conception of its importance. We always find time for that which we deem most important." In the same paragraph, Sanders comments on Martin Luther's busy schedule, stating that extra work was a compelling reason for spending more time in prayer.
None of us want to have to say to God some day, "I was never able to devote much time to being with You because there was always something else to do."
Dear Lord, help me to express my desire for You through arranging my schedule so that I have extended time alone with You.
"Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God" (Luke 6:12).
"Couldn't you watch with me even one hour?" (Matt. 26:40).