3 O'clock




In 2011, I watched on television the devastation caused by twisters up and down the Midwest of the United States.  My heart ached for those enduring the pain and hardship of the destruction the storms left in their wake.

Newscasters described the storms as "apocalyptic destruction" and "scenes from Armageddon".  I remember the flat, monotone, despairing voice of one reporter, “Subdivisions are completely gone. The streets now lined only with foundations where homes once stood."  I too was cast into despair for these people I would never meet because I knew what it meant to suffer great loss.  Things we work our entire lives to build taken from us in the twinkling of an eye.  Tears streamed down my face, when I heard the Holy Spirit speak quietly to my heart and mind, “Where death and devastation reign, God gives a way of hope.  The foundations you see are hope.  God builds on foundations. Once the debris is cleared, God will use His people to rebuild not just homes and buildings but He will rebuild lives.”   

Foundations are crucial. They must be solid and able to take the weight and outside stresses. They must go deep.  The same holds true for followers of Jesus Christ.  We must build firm and solid foundations in our walk with Christ or when the storms of this life come—and they undoubtedly will—we will crumble and not be able to rebuild.

Jesus’ parable, Matthew 7:24-27, tells of two men who built their houses on different foundations. Both men heard Jesus’ teaching and built their lives. Both go through the same experiences in life however we see two very different results as they come out of the storms of life.  Why? Because only one of them built their house on a solid foundation, a rock—a.k.a. Jesus Christ.  

How do we build a solid foundation in Christ?  For me, two ways stand out in the forefront.  Both equally important.  Prayer and studying God's Word.  Today, the focus is on prayer.   

Prayer is the foundation of our Christian walk.  It is a practice of my faith, believing God hears me, and is faithful to answer.  Praise and prayer go hand and hand for me.  Many times I begin with praise.  Sometimes all I do is praise.  It lifts the Spirit inside me.  A dedicated prayer life has given me a deep foundation with God and it can do the same for you too.  


My heart breaks when I hear believers say they don’t have time to pray or their prayer time consist of a nighttime ritual.  What a tragedy when prayer becomes a ‘duty’ or just a bunch of words said with remote repetition.  


Many of us consider ourselves praying without ceasing when we pray in our cars, in the line at the grocery store, sitting at the doctor’s office, etc…  Have you ever passed by an accident and just began praying for those involved?  I sure have.  These times of prayer are sweet and spontaneous and usually prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Paul speaks of prayer many times in the New Testament.  In Ephesians he asks us to “pray without ceasing for all the saints”.   Why did Jesus however instruct us to pray in this way in Matthew 6:6:


      "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.(NASB)


Have you ever taken your dad, a family member or friend aside, maybe to a quiet place so you could talk to them in private?  A place where no one might overhear or interrupt?  Jesus wants us to be away from all distractions when we commune with our heavenly Father.  Not for God’s sake but for our own.  For it is here, in this quiet place of prayer where we hear God; a place where God speaks.  1 Kings 19:11-19 says,


     Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”


Many books about prayer are written telling us how to have a better prayer life. While I suspect they are all great reads, can I let you in on a little secret?  The only way to develop a better prayer life is to make prayer an important and scheduled time of your day. Yep, that’s right, I said to schedule time for prayer every day.


Why would I say schedule a time for prayer?  All of us lead busy lives and if we do not schedule prayer time, we probably will not take time to be alone with God and hear His voice.  However once prayer becomes a part of your daily routine you will soon find you miss it when something hinders or intrudes into your time with God. 


I am no famous writer or scholar but here are a few suggestions that have helped me:


1.      Schedule a short block of time for prayer.  God literally called me to pray at 3 p.m. (that’s a story for another time though.)  It was extremely difficult at first, right in the middle of my day but it has been so rewarding.  The time you schedule doesn’t have to be long.  I started with 5 minutes and it quickly grew to more than an hour of wonderful worship and communion with our Father.   


2.      Respect, honor and covet this time with God.  Get the word out and make sure your family and friends know this is your prayer time. This is not to brag but rather to avoid unnecessary interruptions.  It was amazing to me how many people would call, text or come knocking when I first began to pray.  Now I take nothing with me except my Bible, a notebook, and a pen. 


3.      Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. That means no phones—cell or otherwise, TV, radio, kids, neighbors mowing lawns, etc.  I know some people who go into their bathrooms to pray because it is the only place in their home where they won’t be disturbed.



4.      Believe it or not prayer takes discipline. Don’t give up! Eventually you will find yourself wanting to spend more and more time with God as you begin to listen and hear His still quiet voice.


My dedicated prayer time has been the most amazing time and rewarding times of my life.  This does not mean I have not struggled.  I have.  Prayer times for me have sometimes been times of mourning, heart wrenching questioning, crying, etc… But also times of overwhelming joy, peace, understanding, revelation, celebration and just worshipping God.  I know it will be the same for you because God has no favorites.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for all of us.  He loves each and every one of us the same.


Always loving the Lord,




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