Note: Congrats to the winners of the Hearts at Home comment contest. The gals who will receive a copy of my book A Life That Says Welcome on the topic of hospitality are….. Shannon and Karalin! Ladies, email your home address to firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your freebeeJ
Now, if you have made your way here via the Proverbs 31 devotion I have running on Crosswalk.com, welcome! Let talk some more about that devo and its topic. If you haven’t read the devotion, it is called A Dime in My Pocket and you can read it here.
Prayer. There is nothing I believe in more.
And nothing I find more difficult to do.
Really. My mind wanders. My grocery list suddenly interrupts my thoughts urging me to locate a sticky note before I forget something of monumental importance. You know, like that I need more eggs. Fear strikes as I mentally visualize my to-do list for the day and wonder how I will ever get it all done. Better cut my prayer time short so I can begin to check off the day’s tasks! Or, sadly, sometimes I admit I have decades-long doubts on such things as, “If God already knows the future, what difference does it really make that I pray?”
Yep, I believe in prayer. I have seen its power. I have been in awe of its results. But I struggle with being consistant and earnest about practicing it faithfully.
It is fitting that my devotion ran on the 7th anniversary of September 11th. What a day of prayer that was!! I’m sure most of us can recall the events of that day well.
I sent Mitchell, then in first grade and Mackenzie, a fifth grader, off to their homeschool academy with my friend Kathy who is an instructor there. The students and teachers met once a week on Tuesdays and I got to spend time with three-year-old Spencer by myself all day. (BTW…he heads off to the same academy today for his fifth grade year!)Shortly before 9:00 am, the phone rang and a friend from church asked me if I had the television on. I reached for the remote and, after a few minutes, watched in horror as the second plane stuck our World Trade Center.
My mind went instantly to prayer. I prayed for the families. I prayed for the President. And most of all, I prayed for my two kids who were now over a half hour from me on a very scary day.
I debated whether I should hop in the car and go get the kids, but opted not to. I knew they were with wonderful mentors and spiritual role models who would take great care of them. However, the distance between us drove me to my knees. I can’t recall another day when my thoughts turned to prayer as much as they did on that awful fall day. And in the weeks after. However, I am saddened to think of the many days now in my life that often go by with very little prayer coming from my lips.
So why is it that I tend to connect with God so seriously mainly during times of trouble? Why other times do I treat prayer as another thing on my list of to dos?—Cover all of the requests that have come my way; Remember the items on my church’s weekly prayer sheet; Mention grandparents, nieces and nephews; Oh and don’t forget the missionaries!!! And on and on it goes as I mentally check off the mandatory items I don’t want to miss. It lands me in a spiritual rut. Lately I have longed for my prayer life to be re-energized. I want to be watchful, faithful and deep, not reactionary, hit-and-miss and shallow.
I have discovered a few methods over the years that have helped. Like keeping those sticky notes nearby to actually jot those to-do and to-buy items down and get them onto paper and off of my mind. Or having a tote bag with my Bible, pen, current study book as well as some note cards for verse memory all together in one location. Then I can easily grab it and steal away to a quiet place. If I can find one in a house full of five people!
Today, I’d like to use this site as a forum to share ideas about prayer. Please leave a comment that tells how you have learned to labor in prayer. How do you focus? Any scriptures that have been helpful to memorize? What do you do to carry out the Lord’s command that we be people of prayer?
And, let’s be honest too. Why do you struggle with prayer? Do you struggle? Or does it come naturally? What doubts do you have about this spiritual discipline? What roadblocks do you hit? Any committment to change you want to post in black and white in order to keep yourself accountable?
I know I don’t want to treat prayer like a dime in my pocket any longer. I want to be cell-phone-like addicted to connecting with my Lord. I want it to be as natural as breathing. And I want to give God the glory for the transformation I hope will happen.
How about you?
Sweet intercessory blessings,