If indeed the quality of our lives is largely a product of the kinds of associations we enjoy, then we may rest assured that a person who spends much time in prayer will blossom in personality and rise above pettiness, littleness of soul, and mortal jealousies and fears. Just as contact with degrading influences affects us adversely, almost as though the words and deeds of the depraved become a part of us, so people who regularly call upon God, pour out their soul in prayer, and yearn for genuine communion—such people cannot help but be elevated by that association. As theologian Scot McKnight put it plainly, “The proof of one’s theology is in prayer.”
Some years ago I read Billy Graham’s autobiography and was deeply touched by these words: “Although I have much to be grateful for as I look back over my life, I also have many regrets. I have failed many times, and I would do many things differently.
“For one thing, I would speak less and study more, and I would spend more time with my family. . . . I would also spend more time in spiritual nurture, seeking to grow closer to God so I could become more like Christ. I would spend more time in prayer, not just for myself but for others. I would spend more time studying the Bible and meditating on its truth, not only for sermon preparation but to apply its message to my life.”