An observation: Although marathon runners would love to win their races, they are more interested in the competition with themselves. They want to accomplish the marathon, not necessarily win it. The challenge is to train and prepare to compete and to complete the marathon.
Often we tend to focus on the outcomes of prayer. We want to learn how to pray so that things will happen. We pay such attention to the end result that we miss the joy of praying. By doing so we lose out on the deeper things that come with a relationship with Christ.
Our prayer lives should be more like training for a marathon. We need to pay more attention to the first part of this passage than the second part. We ought to be more interested in being effective and fervent, than the availing much. To that end, let us focus on:
- Consistency in time, place and commitment of our prayers.
- Focusing on needs and persevering in our prayers.
- Planning to pray. Think in advance about what you are going to pray.
- Not giving up or being discouraged when nothing (or very little) seems to be happening.
- Encouraging others in their prayers and seeking the encouragement of others.
- Listening to God's voice as he speaks to us.
PRAYER: We want results, Lord. We have been trained to produce, and in our prayer lives we are no different. We want things to happen. Help us to realize that sometimes we should focus on our relationship with you. Make us effective and fervent in our prayers. Amen.