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How do you pray?

March 14, 2006

Recently, I was reading a great book the ladies of my church are going through in small groups called A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The book is excellent and discusses the priority, purpose, pattern, problems, and practice of a devotional life.

I came to a line on page 32 which says, “There is no legitimate excuse for skipping prayer . . .” That hit me right between the eyes. The truth is, I don’t even bother to muster up excuses. The fact is, prayer has always been a “challenge” for me to be consistent in. That doesn’t mean I don’t pray. But it isn’t consistent or daily.

There was one period, when I lived at my parents’ and commuted an hour to work, when my prayer/meditation time really thrived. I’d do my Bible reading and journaling before work and then pray and memorize scripture all the way to work. This was a time that I really feel like I was “communing” with God. But since being married, I’ve taken public transportation to work and although this allows a great time to read scripture, it deters me from praying because I can’t pray out loud. I’ve tried lots of things: lists, different time of day, etc. but it’s still been a struggle. But I’ve been freshly convicted that I need to develop spending purposeful time in prayer, as well as cultivating a prayerful attitude throughout the day.

So my question to any and all who read this blog is, how do you pray? What patterns, practices, or tools have helped you to develop a meaningful communion through prayer with the Lord?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2006 11:49 pm

    So glad you posted on this topic. It’s been “under the microscope” in my life. As a spiritual discipliine, it really needs to grow.

    When the kids were real young in homeschool, one year we kept a prayer log. A simple spiral notebook, with each page divided into columns: Today’s date, Request. How God Answered , Date Answered. It was a rich time of chronicling our prayer life. We could see at a glance how God answered, including with “wait” (since the Date Answered column was often blank for pages and pages of the same request).

    Our care group prayer log keeper is Lauren. She comes with a little notebook and pen every time!

    Guess that didn’t help you, though; you already said you’ve made lists. I need as much help as you.

    Oh, how about singing a prayer? I just thought about that. Sometimes I have to sing what verses I’m reading just so that I can concentrate and meditate on them. I just make up a tune as I go. Maybe the same would work for more focused praying.

    Ask me next week if I’ve tried my own suggestion!

  2. March 15, 2006 12:13 am

    as Zoanna said…thanks for posting about this.
    One way I pray is simular to Zoanna’s. I have a notebook I have that I write the date on the page, and just write what is on my mind, what I am thinking about Him, what I want to pray about (family etc.), Bible verses in my mind, what is on my heart and praises to him. In the end it looks like a mess, but I love it. It is intersting to sit back and look at, reflect upon. I usually do this at night in bed just before I lay down to go to sleep.
    I struggle with prayer…it is hard for me I think because I am impatient. But when I am in the word, I pray before hand so that he might reveal himself to me, that I might understand His word, and the requests I have.
    Making the time is key, and it can be a struggle, it is different for everyone, it is just a matter of finding the way that you can best talk with your Savior, so that you can know and enjoy him more.

  3. March 15, 2006 1:59 pm

    Boiler got fixed, pilot light was reignited, and the heat is back on. Whew. Who knew that the first time I’d need my winter coat in CA was in my office building in March?

    And glad to hear temperatures are back in the appropriate range for ya’ll.

  4. March 15, 2006 9:38 pm

    I know you said lists didn’t seem to work, but it really helps me. I make a list of a people and ways I can pray for them specifically or in general, or I pick a broad group of people (pregenant women from church, the lost, the homeless, the orphans, the widows, etc)

    What I’ve planned on starting but still haven’t is to make a prayer basket and each day pick a piece of paper and devote my prayer that day to that person or group.

    Sometimes I feel less overwhelmed when I don’t feel I have to pray for 50 different things.

    I’ll be praying that God will grant your desire to grow closer to him through prayer.

    Also, praying on walks has helped me. I like to pray before bed in the quiet but my mind tends to wander 😦

  5. March 16, 2006 2:35 pm

    That sounds great! I won’t have a car, but if you’d like to come to Delaware for dinner Friday or Saturday night or breakfast Sunday, that would be fantastic. E-mail me and we can talk details (there’s a link to my e-mail on my Boundless articles).

  6. March 16, 2006 8:09 pm

    Thank you all for your great thoughts and inspiration!

    It’s not that lists don’t help (I have prayer cards for each day of the week, but it’s the using them that I don’t do!), it’s the finding of time. I think I tend to get overwhelmed by SO MUCH that I need/should/could pray about that discourages me from the get-go.

    I think I’m going to try praying a short but focused prayer in the mornings with my Bible reading and then try using my lists and praying more lengthly in the evening. Anne, you suggestion was good. It’ll also focus my mind on God before sleep.

    Sarah, thanks for you example, sounds like you’re quite a prayer warrior! I used to go on prayer walks–again–when I lived at my parents and there was lots of fields to roam around in. Now that I think of it, those times were the best! I’d forgotten about that, thanks for the reminder!

  7. March 18, 2006 4:55 pm

    Danielle, I write prayers out word for word in my journal in the morning before and after I read. My journal is actually a prayer of sorts. Everything I write is directed to God. Throughout the day I am in conversation with God. It’s not a long list of prayer concerns, it’s more like, God please forgive me for my grumbling and complaining just then. It might be, God what should I spend my free time doing today? Is there someone you want me to take time to pray for while I fold laundry. It’s very normal and daily. Not lengthy, really. I am no prayer warrior, but there it is!

  8. March 19, 2006 6:48 pm

    I often pray prayers from the Bible – especially looking at the prayers of David and of Paul. Sometimes, on index cards I’ll have people’s names and then verses to pray for them. I also use Puritan prayers to help me at times to help lead me off.

    At church this morning (I was at Lord of Life) the pastor said to “pray until you pray.” I think that mentaility helps as well. To keep praying, regardless of feeling, until you truly enter into communion with God.

  9. March 20, 2006 12:46 pm

    My e-mail address: suzanne.hadley@fotf.org

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