The Opportunity Cost of Prayer
This month I’ve been challenged to pray more for my children. My pastor is doing a Wednesday night teaching series on the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave His disciples a way to pray and invites us to imitate. Prayer isn’t supposed to a guilt trip or a Santa-Claus-like list of wants.
My pastor asked, “Do you think things happen because of your prayers that wouldn’t otherwise happen?”
If I truly believe that prayer is powerful, why don’t I pray more often and more specifically for my marriage and my children?
Start with establishing a when and a where for daily prayer. If there’s not a plan (which will become a routine and a habit to pull you), it’s easy to get to the end of the day and think, “Oh man, I didn’t pray again.”
It doesn’t have to be at your bedside at 4 a.m. Pick a time and place that will work most days. Meeting others for prayer is also powerful (and keeps you accountable). Every Monday morning when school is in session, I host a Moms in Prayer group for one hour. That way, I know the eternal work of praying will get done. I can’t tell you how those prayer times have lifted my burdens as I’ve prayed alongside other moms.
But what if you don’t have time for that?
Have you ever considered the “opportunity cost” of prayer? Opportunity cost is defined as: the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.
In other words, if you spend 10 minutes to pray, you will lose the opportunity to use that 10 minutes for something else.
Think of the time you will lose. You might not put away the dishes, answer emails, or sit to play with a child.
But think of the opposite. What is the “opportunity cost” of NOT praying? What are you forfeiting?
I heard a story years ago of a man who went to heaven and was shown a storehouse filled with file cabinets.
“What are these files for?” the man asked.
“These are all the prayers I wanted to answer that you never prayed.”
I want to pray God’s protection over my husband’s heart and mind. I want to pray that my children learn how to live righteously in an unrighteous age. I want my family to enjoy health. I want to pray that God would use my family in mighty ways to glorify Himself.
I know you want to pray these prayers too. That’s why you’re here.
You make time for the things that are important to you. You’ll never find time, extra time, laying around. You have to make time.
I know that every Monday morning, a few ladies will ring the doorbell and we will pray for our children for one hour. It’s one of my favorite hours because I know it is time well spent.
For those of you in Southern California, I want to extend a special invitation the Moms in Prayer Unshaken Conference in Costa Mesa, CA on October 14-15. I will be speaking (please come say hi!) and I know it’s going to be a sacred time of setting our children apart for God. It’s only $35 to attend.
So what is the opportunity cost of praying today? What is the opportunity cost if you don’t pray?
I think we can all agree. It’s a better decision to spend time in prayer each day.