And they continued stedfastly in … prayers.(Acts 2:42)
To plan for prayer is to plan for communion and blessing. Yet as things are in life, no man can do and be all things. There must be a movement of soul to the priority of the eternal and the lessening of the temporal. The danger in utilizing the word temporal is that we fix in our mind the words; sinful, worldly, and wicked. This is not my meaning at all. I have taken for granted separation from these things and an adherence to the milk of the Word (I Peter 2:1ff). What I mean by temporal are those things in life that may be “lawful” but not expedient nor profitable to our souls. The good things in life can deter us from the best (or eternal) things in life. For example, certain hobbies may be “lawful” but an undue attention can be unprofitable. Brethren, let us plan and discipline ourselves for maturity in the area of prayer. The very presence of the glory of God is at stake for our families, ourselves, and our churches.
Dr. Dale says somewhere that if each day had forty-eight hours, and every week had fourteen days, we might conceivably get through our work, but that, as things are, is impossible. There is at least an edge of truth in this whimsical utterance. Certainly, if we are to have a quiet hour set down in the midst of a hurry of duties, and to keep that time inviolate, we must exercise both planning and self-denial. We must be prepared to forego many things that are pleasant, and some things that are profitable. Let no one who can find time for their vanities say that they do not have enough time for prayer. We have to reclaim our time. It may be from recreation, or from social events, or from study, or from works of benevolence. Wherever it comes from, we must find time every day to enter into our closet, and having shut the door, to pray to our Father who is in secret. …
… Some have been heard to say, “I confess that I do not spend much time in the secret chamber, but I try to cultivate the habit of continual prayer.” The implication is that one is better than the other. The two ought not to be set in opposition. Each is necessary to a well-ordered Christian life. Each was perfectly maintained in the practice of the Lord Jesus. He was always encircled by the divine love; His communion with the Father was unbroken; He was the Son of Man who is in heaven. Luke 5:16 tells us that is was His habit to withdraw himself into the wilderness and pray. … Dean Vaughn comments on it: “It was not one withdrawal, nor one wilderness, nor one prayer – all is plural in the original – the withdrawals were repeated; the wildernesses were more than one, the prayers were habitual.” Crowds were swarming and pressing Him; great multitudes came together to hear and to be healed; and He had no time to so much as eat. Yet He found time to pray. (David M’Intrye, The Hidden Life of Prayer, 39-40)