Special Guest Columnist
Evangelist Sheilah Vickers

I know. I know. You almost thought you were reading about a cell phone billing option. Didn’t you? Well, actually let’s talk about that for a quick moment. Many of us who own cell phones (anywhere from ages 10-110 years old) are on a plan. Whether it be a family plan, corporate plan or individual plan, an arrangement has been made with an account with billing based on a line of credit and a commitment for a relatively substantial span of time. Then there are others who for various reasons choose to utilize a prepaid plan. This type of plan allows a certain amount of funds to be placed in advance on an account to be spent as the device is used. The downside of it is that when the funds are depleted, so is the use of the device until more funds replenish the account. The upside is that there is no overspending. I’ve searched out and spoken with several people who opt for the prepaid plans and their reasons for selecting such an option are resounding: freedom and control. They enjoy both the freedom to switch to another phone, plan or even carrier if they choose and they also enjoy that they control the amount of funds they allot in their monthly telephone budget.

Similar to these phone plans and choices made by subscribers is the option for a prayer life. While it can be agreed upon that prayer is communication with God, many people are lost on the fact that the word, “communication” includes the meaning that there is an exchangeable interaction and not just a one-way conversation. Unbelievably so, some walk through life knowing that prayer is powerful, yet their motto is, “I’ll call Him when I need Him.” And rarely do they call outside of their desires. God is not like man, nor is He man that He would be so little to hold a grudge for non-communication but coming to anyone only in times of dire situations makes an awkward conversation. Not only is this type of relationship strained, the approach and language tend to be uncomfortably disjointed. Many times, those who choose to live out this option of a prayer life find someone else who has a direct connection with God and will ask them to pray. They are often known as “someone who can get a prayer through.”

These people who have a direct connection with God are not all apostles, preachers, evangelists, or others in public ministry. They are simply those who choose to be on the pre-prayed plan. The pre-prayed plan is the choice to communicate with God on a consistent basis. I can reflect on a song I heard as a young child that admonished people to whisper a prayer in the morning, noon and evening to keep their hearts in tune with the Lord. Yes, my friends. This is the pre-prayed plan- one that keeps your spirit attuned to the voice and presence of God. How wonderful it is to not have to search for Him in your heart in moments when you need Him most. He longs to have a close Father-child relationship with us. It was His purpose for creating us. It was this type of relationship that was in mind when He spoke with Israel saying, in Leviticus 26: 12, “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people” (New King James Version).

I had the horrible experience the other day of having a telephone conversation and speaking my heart to the matter and thinking that the person was silent in stubbornness and ignoring me all to discover my call had dropped minutes ago. I was in a building that was not conducive for calls outside of that corporation’s network. What a disappointment! I knew that I could not recapture the moment again. I also realized that the person with whom I was communicating was not ignoring me; the call was disconnected. How often do we blame God for not hearing us or not answering us all to later realize that our prayer life had been disconnected long ago and the prayer never got through?

There were several options: A) Instantly redial the phone number. The disconnection would very likely happen again. The level of my patience was not at the point of having a repeated disappointment. B) Decide to make the call later. Unfortunately, the situation required my immediate attention. C) Move to another area and out of that “dead zone.” My phone wasn’t the problem. My ability to express my need wasn’t the issue either. My contact’s willingness to hear me was accessible to me. If I wanted that connection and if I needed that answer, I had to move. The outside climate could not matter. The distance of steps to take to get to an area where the call could be made, could not be considered. My need for an answer was greater than my comfort. My need for this circumstance to be handled was greater than even my pride to apologize to say that we were interrupted because of my location. Because I was in consistent communication with the party on the call, we could pick back up where we ended.

For every person who feels like your call with God has been disconnected, I charge you to move to another place where the call of prayer can get through to God and get on a pre-prayed plan. Jeremiah 33:3 states, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (New King James version). For every person who feels like you’re speaking with God but there’s silence on the other end and it seems as if He’s never going to answer, don’t you dare switch plans now. Proverbs 24:10 states, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (New King James version).

Here are some helpful ways to build and strengthen your prayer life:

Schedule a set time for prayer.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Many of us lead busy lives with full schedules. It’s easy to understand how you can get so caught up with life’s activities and go throughout the day. Time with God becomes an afterthought leaving you to wonder if you’ve prayed at all that day. I always find it interesting that our flesh/carnal man dislikes what we need most. Let’s face it, prayer is a disciplined practice that requires time to develop. However, the more you pray, the more you’ll want to pray. Separate time in your day, even before going to the fitness center, for God.

Find a Hot-Spot for Prayer

“However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” Luke 5:15-16

Much like locating a wireless “hot-spot” for our cellular devices, find a place for uninterrupted time for you to have a two-way conversation with God. Sometimes this may be away from your home. Devote time for Him alone. Jesus often retreated to hot-spots as he withdrew from the crowd to speak with and receive from the Father. Pull away from the distractions of television, telephone, social media and everything else until you can sense that you are alone with God.

Pray the scriptures

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:7-8

Prayer is active and should not be viewed as an afterthought. The Word of God has power. Jesus prayed the scriptures when He was tempted in the wilderness (ref. Luke 4:1-12) Although He is the Son of God with divine authority, He used the power of the scriptures. It is a joy to the Father to hear His words uttered as our affirmation during our time with Him. There is a reaffirmation that happens to fortify us when His word is resounded in us. When this is a repeated practice, these words become our vocabulary and a natural part of our daily walk with God.

Surround Yourself with Seasoned People of Prayer

“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

There is so much in sitting at the feet of a seasoned prayer warrior. They have much to impart to others. Even if those lessons of prayer are not formal spoken lectures, they teach by example. It seemed childish when I was younger and would sit with my mother in our devotion time in the house. I would mimic her time in prayer with all sincerity. Whatever she would say, I would repeat. I would imitate whatever gesture she made until it became a part of me, and the Spirit of God began to move on me individually. Seek out people who can guide and teach you about prayer.

About Sheilah

Sheilah A Vickers is a licensed evangelist who uses education, leadership and ministry as a Leadership Architect. She is author of Pray It Forward: An Intrinsic Look at the Lifestyle of an Intercessor. She is also the author of a children’s novel, A Wright Choice, the first of a series of adult-sized problems told through the lens of a child. Book purchases can be made at www.sheilahvickers.com and she may be reached at 718-670-3241 or bookings@sheilahvickers.com

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