Call on the Name of the Lord
Most believers have a “Quiet Time,” sitting quietly before the Lord, reading our Bibles, and praying. At such times we usually study His Word to discern the will of God and share our requests with the Lord. Making this a habit in our daily lives is wonderful, even essential to spiritual growth (2 Tim. 3:16-17). But by making it our habit we risk it becoming an empty ritual, our eyes just following the letters along the page of the Bible and being preoccupied with just going through lists of requests in our prayers. And beyond that, often we get so busy in the rest of our lives that we don’t feel we can even spare the time for a “Quiet Time.” So we end up with our thoughts not really turning to God all that much.
We must understand that the essence of devotional time is fellowship with God Himself, welcoming the Lord into our daily lives. And that can be done in an instant. We don’t always have to have a formal time when we are quiet. We don’t even have to say any set prayers. At any time, in any place, we can call on the name of the Lord just by saying something as simple as, “Oh Lord!”
When Mary Magdalene heard the Risen Lord say, “Mary!” all she said in reply was, “‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher)” (John 20:16, NASB). But in that circumstance her very short exclamation was a fine and proper prayer. She couldn’t say anything more, nor did she need to.
Or take the example of Nehemiah. When King Artaxerxes asked him why he was sad and what he wanted, the Bible says that he “prayed to the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 2:4). The king was waiting for an answer. Nehemiah did not have time to go into his private room, get down on his knees and beg God to show him His will. But he still prayed. And God marvelously answered his prayer!
As for myself, there have been times when I have come home totally tired out from trying to meet the needs of various people, especially on Sundays. I also might be discouraged because I worried that I said more than I should have or perhaps didn’t say the right thing. At times like that, I don’t have the energy or motivation to think about what I’m saying, whether in prayer or not. So I just flop on my bed and cry out, “Oh Lord!” But then I experience the Lord ministering to me as I ‘sit in His presence.’ He has heard me!
A simple and heartfelt “Oh Lord!” may be the shortest way to pray, to call on the name of the Lord. But that is also true fellowship with our Father. His desire is always to be with us and for us to be with Him (John 14:3). May that be our desire too.
Oh Lord, without my even realizing it, I’ve made prayer and Bible reading a thoughtless ritual and an obligation. You are always waiting to have fellowship with me. May I always remember. Thank You for being there—for me.
Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.”Martin Luther