By Heather Suhr

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 1:35

Have you ever gone to bed at night, praying deeply? Then you fall asleep and wake up the next morning, still in prayer? This happens to me every now and then, but seems to be happening more frequent recently. Sometimes you lie in your bed praying and fall asleep, and you still get the sense of feeling that you're praying as you sleep, then you wake up and wonder how in the world and what in the world you were praying about in your sleep.  

I am reminded by Jesus when he often times prayed early in the morning. Mark 1:35 says, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

I personally think the best time to spend time with God is the first thing in the morning. The earlier, the better, because the more quiet it is. Prayer is a vital link between us and God and we should often take time to do that. Prayer becomes more intense when we feel a burden to pray. Maybe we're facing a change in our lives. Maybe it's a personal struggle we're dealing with. Maybe it's on the behalf of others. Maybe we're feeling a sense of uncertainty. Maybe we need God's comfort. Maybe, maybe, maybe... the list continues. Prayer is vital! There are many ways to pray. I personally like to journal my prayers. This is how I get my thoughts across and onto paper. Sometimes I pray quietly in my heart and mind.

Prayer allows us to have constant communication and connection with God. There are a lot of different emotions that can take part in prayer. Sometimes we feel like our prayers have been answered. Other times, we feel like it wasn't. What do we do with those times that we feel like our prayers weren't answered?

I think the key is persistence. The Lord wants us to seek His face, wait upon Him, and pray earnestly. Jesus tells his disciples (Luke 18:1) that "...they should always pray and not give up" and (1 Thessalonians 5:17) to "pray continually." Ultimately, I think God is asking for our faith in Him. This is how the Lord desires to connect with us. He wants us to turn to Him for wisdom, help, and guidance. If we didn't need any of that, then we would not have to seek after Him. This is what's exciting and interesting about life; living each and every day in faith, no matter how challenging it may feel.

Is there something in your life that you're just not too sure of? Is there a personal struggle you're facing? Are you facing a financial dilemma? Are you in the need of a job? Are you having marital troubles? The list continues. My encouragement and prayer for you is to hang in there. Seek Him.  Seek His face.  Seek His wisdom.  Seek His guidance. Seek Him! Do not ever quit.  The Lord will come through in His perfect and divine timing.   

Widespread prayer, our own and others who lift our mission up before God, is an essential value in Youth for Christ/USA. It all begins with a single heart turned towards God and responding to His desire for deeper fellowship. If you need a jump start in how to pray, start here with the model prayer taught by Jesus:

"This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'" (Matthew 6:9-13) AMEN


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