November 14, 2018
Practice Makes Progress
In the night, LORD, I remember your name, that I may keep your law. This has been my practice: I obey your precepts. You are my portion, LORD; I have promised to obey your words. (Psalm 119:55-57)
Friend to Friend
I’ve always been an athlete. As an adult, I enjoy power walking and keeping fit. Growing up, I played on different sports teams all year round, but volleyball has always been my jam.
I played volleyball in college and now I help coach my daughter’s high school team. I’ve been around this game for more than thirty years and I’ve spent more time on the court, on the sand, and on the grass playing and practicing than most people ever will.
You’d think that after all the hours invested I’d have the game perfected by now, right?
There are still times when I shank a pass and have spike attempts that send the ball into the net instead of over the net. There are still times when I miss a serve.
Each mistake frustrates me. Seriously. I’m competitive and I hate to lose. No matter how much I’ve grown as a player, I’ve come to realize that when I step on the volleyball court mistakes are going to happen and there will always be opportunities for me to grow and progress in my skills. Simple as that.
And you know what? I’ve found the same to be true in my prayer life.
Do you remember that old saying “practice makes perfect?” Well, I think it’s a bunch of beans! I recently heard a phrase that better represents the reality of growth and development: practice makes progress.
Whether we’re talking about our development as athletes, as students, as wives, as employees, or simply as women of faith – specifically, as women of prayer – we are all purposed for growth until we die.
The truth that the apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 7 still remains: we don’t do what we should do and we do what we shouldn’t. So true. Prayer, I'm afraid, is one of the “don't dos” for many of us. We all seem to KNOW how important it is to trust God with our burdens, but many of us neglect to put this important discipline into practice.
Do you ever go the phone before you go to the throne?
Yeah. Me too.
There are times when I don’t trust God the way I should. And though I’ve been faith-walking with Him a long time, there are still a million ways that I need to grow. There will always be ways for us to grow and there will always be mistakes for us to work through.
My relationship with God grows when I pray. Yours does too.
Similarly, our trust in God grows as our relationships with Him grow.
Jesus said this, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)
Jesus counts us as his “friends.” That blows my mind! Yet, how many of us would talk to our close friends as infrequently as we talk to Jesus, our Creator and Redeemer?
Of course, it's not like we can ignore the world around us and pray 24/7. Right? We’re still going to go to work and spend time with friends and family, but in the midst of it all, Scripture instructs us to: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
The practice of a praying life increases faith and bolsters our courage to trust God.
This can translate into prayers of thankfulness and petition during power walks, time in the carpool line, while we wash laundry, and take lunch breaks. We can redeem these moments to thank God, and to pray for our children, careers, futures, frustrations, marriages, trials, and our challenges.
When we “do life” with God by exercising the spiritual discipline of prayer our faith grows.
It helps us to trust Him more.
A strong volleyball team is one that relies on each other in the game. As Christians, we have the advantage. We have God on our team. And with God on our team, we cannot fail. If God is for us, who can stand against us? We just need to talk to Him and trust him, rather than trying to play the game of life on our own.
Practice makes progress.
We will learn to trust God more as we go to Him in prayer.
Dear God, That You would choose to call me friend is simply amazing! Thank you that though I’m not perfect, your grace allows me to progress in faith! Please forgive me for the times when I go about my day and “do life” without You. Help me to continuously pray and to trust You with my burdens.
In Jesus’s Name I pray,
Now It’s Your Turn
How would you rate your prayer life on a scale from 1-10? Where would you like your prayer life to rank on that same scale? Are you willing to do anything about it? If so, what? If not, why?
Add 10 GiG Challenge: For one week, I challenge you to add 10 minutes of prayer each day to your normal prayer routine? Will you do it? Yes? Make it public! Leave a comment/commitment in a direct message to me on Instagram saying, “I’m in for plus ten!”
More from the Girlfriends
Gwen’s most recent book, I WANT IT ALL, is a passionate call to follow God with great expectation for the impact, the challenges—and the blessings—that come from dreaming big dreams and believing that God keeps his promises. I WANT IT ALL will help you to experience more faith, more power, and more impact. More of Jesus. All of Jesus. Everything that God has for you. Order yours today from Amazon or Gwen’s webstore.
Today’s devotion is an excerpt from Trusting God, A Girlfriends in God Faith Adventure by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith and Mary Southerland.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Wednesday, 14 November 2018.