About this time every year I get excited. The weather gets warmer and the mornings are refresher. I move my devotional time from inside to the back of my porch. The last few years I have been learning more and more about prayer. I am learning prayer is the means to a relationship with God. It is through prayer we can begin to build a relationship with God.
Prayer is like having a conversation with a good friend. We share and we listen. It’s a two way street. I am also learning about contemplative prayer. Learning to look inward and listening to what God is sharing with me. Another area I am learning about is interceding prayer. I am learning it is a privilege to pray for others. Often times, I include myself as well, we will tell people we will pray for them and then not think anymore about it. I am learning that just as I would want people to pray for me when I need it, it is just as important for me not only to offer to pray for them, but to actually do it. Tuesday and Thursdays I spend the day with people. I offer prayer and pray with those who will allow me to pray with them. The others that won’t let me pray for them, the minute they go out the door they get a breath prayer. They are still prayed for.
I mentioned earlier I am reading a book called, “Living Prayer” by Robert Benson. As I am reading it I realize He means I am to live a life of prayer. It has taken on a new meaning. A life of prayer…umm.
Several years ago I read a book where the author wondered how many times a day could Christ cross His mind. He began an experiment. He began to consciously think about Christ and then write down the number of times Christ was present in His mind. At first it was slow; he like most of us got distracted. He kept the practice up. As He passed a flower or a tree he’d stop and say thank you. If he took a phone call he’d thank Christ for the friend, sometimes it would be as simple as saying thank you for the next breath I am going to take. After a while he realized Christ was on his mind most of the day. I began to put this in practice. I am still not where He is, but I am better at being more aware of Christ in my life. A habit, a practice, a way of life; all of these are possible if we really want to accomplish it. It’s a matter of doing and not just saying.
The last few months God has been challenging me. At a United Methodist Retreat this spring, at the Silent Retreat and again in his book, I am being challenged to set up a prayer space at home; a place where I can go and have silence. This place would allow me to have a candle, maybe prayer beads and soft music in the background playing. This place would not allow for distractions. This place would not allow my cell phone to be present. A place I can go once a day for prayer.
I know we can pray anywhere and as often as we’d like. I know it’s not a requirement from God we have these places, but I think we need these places. I am reminded of the many times Christ went off to be by himself and pray. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 I am thinking if Christ had to get away from all the crowds and distractions we need to too. Are we any better than Christ?
I don’t know about you, but my breath prayers often go like this, “Please God be with so and so. Please God help me find a parking place. Please God help me as I answer this call or email. Oh, God there goes a siren, please be with those involved.” My breath prayers are usually requests for others. That is okay, but when we go off by ourselves this is a time to listen to God, to reflect where we messed up, to think about things God is teaching us, to develop a deeper relationship with Him. This should be His time for us; a time for us to meet God.
My time is in the morning hours. I have always made that our time. We now have a puppy and my time with God is not always as quiet or uninterrupted as I’d like. I still sit and read, but my prayer life isn’t like I’d like it.
My husband goes to bed pretty early in order to get up and get to work on time. I was sitting there all evening watching meaningless TV. God has gently reminded me I have a box that can record TV shows. The puppy goes to bed when Greg does. I have quiet time; time when there are not many distractions, a perfect time to light a candle, a perfect time to reflect on my day. Why not take advantage of that. Now often times when Greg heads off to bed I turn the TV down or off and head to my quiet time with God. I will admit I have not put this practice into a daily routine, but God and I are working on it.
God is showing me when I get together with my friends we don’t always have to talk; just being in their company is enough. When I go to God in prayer I don’t always have to be the one doing the talking; just being with Him is enough.
Someone once asked the question, “What does living life mean to you?” Someone answered, “Living life means loving life. When we love life we love everything in it. We don’t take for granted what we have and are grateful for nature and all life around us. We have positive attitudes in making life better for all. We are not selfish. We are not hateful. We are not greedy. We are not prideful. This is what living life means to me and though it may be hard to love it at all times, I try my best.” I like that answer. But what if we replaced life with prayer? Let’s try it:
Living prayer means loving prayer. When we love prayer we love everything in it.
We don’t take for granted the privilege to pray and we are grateful for all the prayer that surrounds us.
We have positive attitudes in making prayer better for all those around us, for ourselves and for God.
We are not selfish. We are not hateful. We are not greedy. We are not prideful.
This is what living prayer means to me and though it may be hard to pray at all times, I try my best.”
The changes are pretty powerful isn’t it? It gives us a new perspective on prayer. How is your prayer life? Do you have a quiet place to go and pray? Does God only hear breath prayers from you? God wants us to live a life of prayer. It takes work and dedication, but it is worth it. I am sure when Christ came out of His alone time of prayer, He was refreshed, energized and ready to take on the world. We are able to experience that too it just takes willingness and obedience and practice.
Join me in developing prayer time daily.
Dear God: You are calling me to living prayer daily in my life. You are calling me to set up a place where I can go and not have distractions, to reflect, to listen and to just be with you. Living prayer will be challenging, it will take obedience and practice, but I know it will be worth it. You never call us to do something that doesn’t change us and help us grow more into You. Thank you God for wanting me and loving me. Thank you for who you are creating me to be. Amen