People invest in many things. But it seems that not many view prayer as an investment. It is a spiritual investment that brings tangible gains in our present lives, and that is to come. (1 Timothy 4:8) I think many Christians care too much about the “quality” of their prayer. I used to think the same way. But the more I understand prayer as an investment, “quantity” is as important, if not more. Think about it. God already knows our needs before we even ask. (Matthew 6:8) So, instead of focusing too much on what we say, it would be better to focus on “how long” we stay in his presence.
People find it difficult to pray, not because they don’t know its value but because of other tasks they can get done instead. But every investment is a form of sacrifice. You are sacrificing what you can get now for what you can get later because you believe the latter will be greater than the former.
I feel that modern culture is obsessed with productivity that we can easily allow it to sabotage our spiritual growth. When productivity is our ultimate pursuit, we judge our day based on how much we have accomplished. But when we are not productive, we feel crushed in our spirit because we feel incompetent. On the contrary, life in the Spirit is about judging our day based on how much we have allowed God to do his task. (John 5:19) That is why genuinely spiritual people are relatively productive but allow passivity even if it looks like a waste of time. Because they know life is not all about how much we can accomplish.
So, if you are starting in prayer, treat it as a consistent deposit into your future and focus on “filling the time” without worrying too much about its quality. (Start with 15 minutes, not too long but not too easy) It is because consistent prayer is a productive prayer.
Let me end with sharing a quote from Pastor Charles R.Swindoll on prayer:
“Prayer is an investment. The time you dedicate to prayer isn’t lost; it will return dividends far greater than what a few moments spent on a task ever could. If we fail to cultivate this discipline, prayer winds up being our last resort rather than our first response.”