Jan 4, 2012

Developing Your Prayer Life

"...pray without ceasing..."

Recently, I re-read No Compromise, the biography of Christian musician and evangelist Keith Green.* I was so struck by how much Green longed for a better prayer life. Are you like Green? I am. And I've recently come to the conclusion that if we want to foster prayer in our life, we can't wait for inspiration to strike.

For years, I've been a pray-when-I-feel moved person. Yes, I had some set prayer time - before meals and bed. But mostly I prayed when I was inspired to give thanks or to ask for something. I think a lot of American Christians have these same habits.

But if we look at well known Christians of the past, and if we look at godly people in the Bible, we often learn they created a prayer schedule, and stuck to it - whether or not they felt they had something to say to God. Probably the best known example is Daniel, who "...got down on his knees and prayed..." repeatedly throughout the day. (Daniel 6:10)

Especially as busy mothers, I think we need to follow Daniel's example. Recently, I have committed to praying at least once each hour. That means before I hop out of bed in the morning, I pray. As I clear away the breakfast dishes, I pray. Before I cuddle and read with the kids, I pray. As I prepare lunch, I pray...and so on throughout the day.

I even set the kitchen timer to help me remember.

But sometimes I'm not sure what to pray about. The timer goes off and my mind goes blank. In such cases, I like to either:

* Offer up prayers of thanks and worship. It's pretty difficult not to find new things to praise God for, if you start focusing on all the good things He gives you, from cozy warm socks to plenty of food to eat.

* Think of The Lord's Prayer, and pray on each thought in it. For example, the first line is "Our Father in heaven," so I might thank God for the promise of heaven and what it means to me, and for sending his Son to make it possible for me to go there someday. The next line is "hallowed by your name," so I might praise God for his holiness. And so on.

My goal is to do as Paul suggested and pray without ceasing. I do not want to ever regret that I didn't pray more - as Billy Graham once confesses he does. I hope to remove most of the useless meandering about unimportant things that takes up so much room in my head and replace it with prayer. What about you?

* I highly recommend the book - and Keith Green's music.

2 comments:

  1. I really appreciate your posts. Thank you. This one is particularly near to my heart. I have been working on my prayer life a lot over the last year. I felt I was going through a "dry" period and was trying to figure out why. One thing that helped me was coming in touch with the books on the 5 love Languages. Originally, I started reading these for our family and learned a LOT but than read The 5 Love Languages of God and boy did that really open my eyes. It has made me realize so much about myself and my prayer life.
    Praying without ceasing is definitely the goal for me!
    I wanted to also say that there are so many beautifully written prayers out there that can be said throughout the day as well. I've taken to printing them on beautiful paper or creating prayer cards and posting them in places I spend time like at the kitchen sink. When I see them I'm reminded to prayer.
    Praying the Psalms is another good one.
    You mentioned the Lord's Prayer...in and of itself, it is a prayer. Recite it and you are praying. That is the prayer Jesus taught us. Beautiful!
    Thank you again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're welcome, Susan. And thanks for the book recommendations; I've never seen The Five Love Languages of God. I will have to check it out!

    ReplyDelete