Prayer. It’s life changing. Comforting. Inspiring. Faith-affirming. The worry-killer. But how often do we do it? It may be easy to say a cursory prayer before dinner, cry out a “Please help me not run out of gas!”, or turn to God when life is heavy or someone we love is in trouble. For me, those prayers aren’t enough. It’s not enough to simply say an obligatory thank you once a day, or use God like a “Santa in the sky” as I rattle off my list of requests. When my life feels like it is spiraling out of control, it’s probably likely that I’m not spending enough time in prayer. (*Sure, life will still spiral out of control, but I maintain my composure in the midst of a storm much more easily, if prayer has been an integral part of my life.)
But, prayer takes time….and typically I find myself without much time to spare. So, how do we find time to pray? When can we fit in time to cry out to God? When can we stop and praise Him for what He’s done? When can we ask for help, wisdom, and guidance? When can we allow time to listen?
I wanted to share with you a few ideas that have helped my prayer life.
1. Don’t pray in bed.
I used to pray in bed each night, right after we’d turned off the light. I never really got very far. Let’s face it…when I get in bed,I’m tired! I find that I don’t get much praying done before I drift off to sleep.
2. Pray in the car
Raise your hand if you’re sick of the radio? Why not use that time to do something worthwhile? If you’re shuttling kids around, or have a commute, use that time to pray. Talk out-loud if you need to…(it keeps you from getting distracted!) Put on a blue-tooth if you don’t want to seem like the crazy-lady driving down the road. I mean, what else can you do while you are driving? Might as well make your requests known to God, right?
3. Hang a list
I have had a prayer request list in my shower for years. It’s somewhere I will see it every day. It’s in a place where I’m not distracted. I know that I will have 5-15 minutes each day to pray. I have had a weekly list, where I pray for a member of my family more in depth on a different day of the week, and I’ve also had just a general list of never-changing requests…(strong family, happy attitudes, strong relationships, protection, etc.) Other ideas are hanging on the bathroom mirror, the wall above your desk or work-space, in your purse to pull out in car-pool line, in waiting rooms, etc. Put a list somewhere you will see it on a regular basis, and then use it!
4. Change Your Method
For some people, talking is the way they process information. For them, praying out loud is the best option. For others,(like me), writing is the way we think. For me, I have found that I can sometimes express my thoughts, requests, and praises in the best way, when I write them down. There is no law that says you have to close your eyes, bow your head, and fold your hands to pray! (I don’t care what your Sunday School teacher told you!) Type it out! Draw a picture. Talk. Think. Eyes open. Eyes closed. Go on a walk to pray. Write God a letter. Do what works and is the most meaningful for YOU. God doesn’t fit in a box….why should prayer?
Just remember that there is no “one way” to pray. Make it personal. Talk like YOU talk. You don’t need flowery language, holy sounding words, a clear conscience, or a Bible degree to pray. You can come to God in anger, joy, grief, frustration….just come. Be honest. Thank. Ask. Express. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing, or what you say. You don’t have to be of a certain religion, have a certain “standing” in the church, or even be certain anyone is listening…just pray.