Prayer – Letting Your Compass Rest

Did you know that a compass needle is just a little magnet that aligns itself with the much larger magnetic field of the earth? What’s more, you can confuse and distract a compass needle by bringing another magnet near. The distracting pull of something like a fridge magnet drags the compass needle off its true reading. To let the compass rest, you need to set it in a place where it has just one influence – it settles only when it is aligned with the earth’s poles.

I like to think of prayer that way. When we pray we put our spiritual compass in a place away from all the influences that drag us off course, and we allow it to settle in the field of God’s will. We make His influence the priority. We align our soul with Him. We let our compass rest on Him.

When Paul told the church at Colossae to “devote themselves” to prayer (Colossians 4:2) he used a word that means to be persistently attentive – like a faithful friend. Paul also offered two attitudes that should characterise a persistent prayer life. Those who pray should be watchful and thankful.

The word watchful suggests an alert mind. Spiritual eyes wide open. Prayer is not for sleepyheads! When we pray we should be clear-thinking. We should be aware of, and resist, the enemy’s attempted intrusions and distractions (those fridge magnets that pull us off the true course). In addition, we must be sensitive to God’s promptings and leadings as we align our will with His.

Thankful prayer can be the hardest, especially when it seems as though our world is falling in around our ears. But elsewhere Paul insists that prayerful thanksgiving is the key to finding peace for the mind and soul even during trying times (Philippians 4:6). The very privilege of prayer is plenty to be thankful for. We have access through prayer to the Lord who can sustain us during the evillest of days. So:  Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.(Hebrews 4:16)

Copyright © 2009 by Dr Terry Boyle. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Dr Terry Boyle serves as Pastor for Insight for Living UK. His ministry involves teaching a weekend radio programme, hosting the weekday Insight for Living broadcast, helping with issues that come in from listeners, and providing a personal and local approach to Chuck Swindoll’s ministry.

Terry was born in Windsor, England. He moved to the United States in 1981. Although he began his professional life as a biochemist, Terry holds a Th.M. in Pastoral Ministry and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas.

Terry served as senior pastor of Skillman Bible Church in Dallas until he and his family moved back to the UK in 2007, to take on the role of pastor for Insight for Living United Kingdom.

Terry and his wife Rose Ann have been married for twenty seven years, and they have three grown children: Hannah, Emily, and Terence.