Every morning I go to the same spot on our living room floor and get on my knees and I pray for 4-5 things. These prayer sessions never last more than 10 minutes and I am usually praying for the same things each day.
There is nothing unique about this other than the fact that for most of my life, my prayer life was never this regular, consistent, or expectant. Yes, I am a Christian blogger who writes about spiritual things whose prayers were mostly little more than worries with wings. I would float them out there occasionally or when I was driving or walking to my car. My usual pattern would be to worry, which leads to a prayer something like this, “Father, may your will be done in this matter.” It wasn’t specific or very intentional.
What changed is that I started to read Mark Batterson’s book Draw the Circle and was struck by how intentional and direct he encouraged the reader to be about their prayer life. I had heard all of this before but this time I decided to just test some of his suggestions out and see what happens. So I made a list of four things I was going to pray for every day.
I start brewing some tea each morning and as the tea is steeping, I get on my knees and pray. I have been doing prayers this way ever since July and for the first time in my life, I look forward to praying and see it as a privilege and not a burden.
Why has this worked? One, I don’t have a blank slate. I know what I am going to pray for and don’t have to fight off mental distractions just to get started. Two, I don’t stress about all of the things that I am not praying about. I am just one person and I don’t think I am called to pray for everything that my wife is called to pray for or my pastor is called to pray for. I hope that as this progresses, I will expand my prayer list but I am not wanting to be an endurance pray – er right now. Three, I have seen result after result. From my Dad’s fight with cancer, to my fund raising efforts, to work situations, my prayers are being answered. I am inspired by these successes and take to prayer now with expectancy.
I have a long way to go and I know that I will probably always have some deficiencies in this area, but I am no longer ashamed of my meager prayer life. If you share these struggles, try this:
- Make your list of 4-5 things that most need prayer. Don’t feel bad if your list doesn’t include your best friend’s co-workers cousin-in-law. This experiment isn’t a test of your empathy but a means to progress and build momentum between you and God.
- Go to the same spot each day. Don’t worry about the time so much as the location. Just as you have a favorite spot to drink coffee or to read, find a favorite spot to pray. This will quickly become a sacred space.
- When you are done praying, get up and do something else. Make this about your list and not the time. Don’t be done in by people bragging about their 45 minute prayer sessions. I don’t even pay attention to how long I am praying, I simply start when I start and end when I end.
Let me know how this experiment goes for you.
photo: Grace by Enstrom
Well said, good practical advice!