I am about to perform my first wedding in 19 years. When my wife’s brother asked me to perform his wedding I figured that was a good reason to come out of marriage performing retirement. It also happens that this December I will have been married for 20 years. As a matter of fact my brother in law proposed to his fiancée within a few days of what would be 20 years from the day I proposed to his sister. Each step they take reminds me of things we went through when we were getting ready for our wedding.
Which leads me to a lesson on building a great prayer life; because everything leads me to a lesson on prayer. This young couple is learning and building a foundation for a lifetime of marriage. Many things will happen over time. They will become experts in each other. Some of it will simply come from the day after day time spent together. Time with each other will teach them many things.
I think the same is true of our prayer life. The more time you spend with God the better you get to know Him. As with anyone time can help build a foundation with God that can last a lifetime. Some things we learn about God simply through the process of spending time with God in prayer and His word.
But as a nerd and personal development junkie my mind began to think about the 10,000 hour rule. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliners popularized the idea that in order to be world class as something you need to spend 10,000 hours in practice. This connects to what I was saying about the importance of putting in the time in prayer.
But the other side of the coin is a personal development guy like Tim Ferriss, best known for his book: The Four Hour Work Week. He challenges people that a lot of skills can be learned in a short period of time with the right kind of training. He teaches that there are shortcuts that can be learned along the way to help people excel quickly.
Without going all nerd on you and explaining the difference between these two things let me just say that it is a “both/and” kind of situation. You need time and skills for many things. Going back to my wedding example will be helpful. How many marriages have been helped by a conference, book, or mentor couple? These tools accelerate the process of building a solid, loving marriage. At the same time we have all seen the power of a marriage where they have been able to practice their love over time.
Moving back to prayer the connection becomes obvious. There is a reason that I create resources to help people with their prayer life. Helps like these can create shortcuts to an enjoyable prayer life. Also I have met wonderful people who have spent years being with God and I can tell the relationship is great.
So let me encourage you to do both to build your prayer life. Find a mentor, buy a book or go to a conference on prayer. Learn all that you can from those who have gone before you. Second make a commitment to time with God. Make it a priority that you will reap fruit from for years to come.
(Disclaimer 1: I do not pretend to be a marriage performing expert. I am taking lessons from the minister from the Princess Bride.
Disclaimer 2: Buying either of the books mentioned with the link attached will provide a small amount to the ministry)