Prayer is an unusual activity. With most activities, if you engage in them, you have less time for other things. But not so with prayer. Engaging in prayer provides more, not less, time for other things. Philosopher and author Peter Kreeft puts it this way: “We think our lack of time is the cause of our lack of prayer, but our lack of prayer is the cause of our lack of time.”
Following are 4 reasons—drawn from billionaires and from saints—why it is, paradoxically, the case that you have more time if you pray.
Why You Have More Time if You Pray
I pray every day. I don’t do it in order to get more time, but more time is one outcome.
Reflecting on how this is the case, I submit that there are both natural and supernatural reasons why those who pray have more time. Let’s start with the natural.
3 Natural Reasons
For his book Tools of Titans, serial entrepreneur Tim Ferris interviewed more than 200 world-class performers, billionaires, and icons on the tactics, routines, and habits that drive their success.
The single most consistent habit that they shared is “some form of daily meditation or mindfulness practice.” More than 80% of them reported having that habit. 80%. And others may well have had the habit but just not happened to mention it.
Prayer shares with meditation the following time-savings attributes:
Maintains Commitment to Top Priorities
Perhaps nothing steals our time quite like giving it to a million different activities, many unimportant. But daily prayer keeps you committed to the most important things. It helps you avoid the less important activities and recoup time that otherwise would have been spent on them.
Tim Ferris describes how meditation helps in this regard: “Most of our waking hours, we feel as though we’re in a trench on the front lines with bullets whizzing past our heads. Through 20 minutes of consistent meditation, I can become the commander, looking out at the battlefield from a hilltop. I’m able to look at a map of the territory and make high-level decisions.”
Strengthens Our Focus
Studies have shown that meditation, including meditative prayer, increases mental focus and helps us ignore distractions.
Contributes to a Longer Life
Another way in which meditation and prayer give us more time is by providing health benefits that tend to contribute to a longer life. Such benefits include reduced blood pressure, fewer heart and brain problems, and less inflammatory disorders and asthma.
A 4th, Supernatural Reason
Both general meditation and meditative prayer share the three above time-saving characteristics.
But prayer promises a 4th time-saving attribute as well:
God Can Increase Your Time
Anyone who doesn’t believe in God won’t be moved by this consideration, of course. But for those who believe in a personal God, it shouldn’t be difficult to believe that God can increase one’s time.
Peter Kreeft relates his own experience in this way: “When a little boy offered Christ five loaves and two fishes, he multiplied them miraculously. He does the same with our time, but only if we offer it to him in prayer. This is literally miraculous, yet I know it happens from repeated experience. Every day that I say I am too busy to pray, I seem to have no time, accomplish little, and feel frazzled and enslaved by time. Every day that I say I’m too busy not to pray, every time I offer some time-loaves and life-fishes to Christ, he miraculously multiplies them and I share his conquest of time. I have no idea how he does it, I know that he does it, time after time.”
How to Receive the Time-saving Benefits of Prayer
The point of prayer is certainly not to have more time. I want to be clear about that. To think so would be tantamount to thinking, for instance, that the point of marriage is to have someone to go to the movies with.
But having more time is, nevertheless, a fruit of prayer.
If you’re convinced by the above points, or at least intrigued enough to give meditative prayer a try, the questions then become: But for how long should one pray each day? And how should you structure that time?
I’ve put together a 1-page PDF answering those questions. It is a tool you can use to guide you through meditative prayer in order to reap prayer’s time-saving benefits and other benefits as well:
On a natural level, prayer helps us stay committed to top priorities, stay focused on the task at hand, and live a longer life. On a supernatural level, it invites divine assistance. Because of these attributes, engaging in prayer—despite taking one’s time—paradoxically increases it.
Question: Do you find that meditation or prayer increase your time? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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