Monday, February 11, 2013

Prayer in Practice

If you're like most Christians, it's easy for you to answer the question "Why Pray?"  We know that the Bible tells us to pray.  In fact, it goes as far as to say "pray continuously."   Searching scripture, we discover prayer is all about connecting and communicating with God.   But it's a little tougher to answer the "How to Pray." Jesus gives us a great model to follow in the Matthew 6:9-13

 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’

Jesus also tells us don't make prayer into a big show to impress others.  But what does this look like? How does this thing called prayer work out in actual practice? Kneel? Sit? Stand?  Eyes closed? Eyes opened?  Do I have to have a literal closet to pray in?  How does this look?

Our physical  posture of prayer doesn't  supersede the heart's posture and the purpose of prayer.  So sit, stand, walk, talk, be silent, open your eyes, close your eyes but whatever you do, just pray. Connect with God because he longs to connect with you.  

In the interest of satisfying the curious and at the risk of inviting you into my very messy, very real world, I wanted to share two really practical things I have found helpful in becoming a praying person. 

First of all, I need a relatively peaceful and quiet place.  Paul could pray and praise in a prison, but I need a little order.  If there is clutter, chaos or dirt I will spend more time thinking about housework than God's work.  This need for a serene space eliminates the use of a "prayer closet" in my home.  Perhaps your closet is neater and larger than the tiny one I share with my husband in which case you should be very thankful.  

 My quiet place, my closet if you will, is my living room.  It's the one room I manage to keep organized on a regular basis.  Kitchen prayer lends itself to munching more than I ought.  Bedroom prayer risks me falling asleep or waking my husband. The dining room, as you can see, is where the action happens and the messes never end so it's a no-go prayer zone for me.
The dining room table-not just a place to eat.

Pencil shavings and dog hair on the floor are not conducive to my prayer life.  

Secondly, I keep a "prayer basket" near the couch in the living room where I like to pray.  I wish I could take credit for this great idea, but a sweet friend suggested this when I was lamenting about my inconsistent prayer life.  

My little basket is full of things that help me focus when  I want to pray.  I like to pray in the quiet moments of the early morning and in any other moments I can capture during the day.  When I plop down on the couch to rest,  I will often grab my little basket and "rest In Him."

The  basket a cute little thing that tucks away nicely under the end table.  It is oh-so-easy to pull out and is a great visual reminder to spend more time with Jesus.   I would encourage you to find a visual reminder that works for you.  Maybe your  reminder is  an app on your  iPhone, a habitual morning walk with the dog or  a note on your nightstand.  Whatever it is, it should encourage you to pray. 

So, back to the basket.   If you're like me, you're probably wondering what's in the basket.  I have a Bible,  a journal,  card holders for prayer requests and answers and inspiring  books about prayer.
Operation World is one of my favorite books that informs me about prayer needs around the world.  I highly recommend it. 

As I take this prayer journey, I pray you are inspired to take your own journey.  
Pray hard.  Pray often. 
Who knows?  1,000 hours of prayer just might change everything.  

1 comment:

  1. Just tried out Prayer Notebook App on iPhone. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!