Teach me to pray! That is my heart’s cry.
Today we are going to learn some simple and successful practices to pray with focus and effectiveness.
Before we start, how did you do last week? Did you make an appointment with the King and keep it? Did you find yourself a Bible and a regular reading place? If you missed last week’s introduction to this series, please take a minute to read it. The first step is crucial to the rest of our series. Click here for last Friday’s post.
Now let’s continue with
Perhaps you are like me. Are you easily distracted while you pray? Do you notice the clutter on the kitchen table? Do you start thinking about the bills that need paying? Are you distracted when the dog jumps up on the couch and sits down next to you? Do you stray from your thoughts when you see a spider crawling down the wall?
The slightest noises can distract me. But the worst detractor from prayer is my to-do list. My mind fixes on the numerous chores and errands that await. The next thing I know, I have wasted 15 minutes thinking about meaningless stuff and my time with God is squandered.
The second most profound change in my relationship with God came from a spiral binder and a pen. Yes, I began to pray on purpose through a prayer journal. I forced myself to write out a sentence in long hand. When I placed my focus just upon the paper in front of me and the words I was writing, I found distractions simply disappeared. Forming sentences on paper led me to focus on the words I pray. It revolutionized my prayer life.
I found I prayed more intensely and with my whole heart. I was writing with purpose and passion to the Lord. Every morning I would begin to write a love letter to the King. Praying in long hand forever changed my prayer life. Yes, it takes longer to get everything out that I want to say. Sometimes I abbreviate. Sometimes, I will only write a name or a word and then complete the sentence verbally. Often, I will start writing a prayer and I will end up on my knees in worship, the journal and pen forgotten on the couch.
After all these years of praying, I still get my Bible and prayer journal out every single morning. I begin praying in my journal when I am reading scripture. Without fail, every morning, the Lord speaks to me through some verse or passage. I write these passages down and then pray asking the Lord to teach me or I thank Him for teaching me in that moment. I ask for clarification or how to make a particular scripture real in my life. I have more to say about this in a future post.
For today I have an assignment. Get a prayer journal. I buy spiral binders in bulk usually when it is “Back to School” season. You can find them cheap and plentiful. I put them in a cabinet and use them all year long. You don’t need to have a flowery journal inscribed with "prayer journal." All you need is paper, pen and the Holy Spirit.
For me, praying on paper removed all my distractions. I found I wrote and prayed with purpose and expectation. I am able to go back in my journal and read past prayers. One other blessing of journaling is the ability to re-read and then remember past prayers and recognize how God specifically answered.
The idea of a prayer journal is not a new one. But, often people don’t know what to write in it. So in the next post of this series we are going to learn how to Pray Out Of The Box.
Assignment: Begin praying in a prayer journal if you struggle with prayer.
We will look at these questions next week. If you are willing, please give me your answers in comments.
Motivation to pray. Praying in God's will. Praying with expectation. Praying through strongholds. All this awaits us. It is an exciting time in God's Kingdom. Stay tuned for more. Have a blessed week. Look forward to and expect answered prayer. Love, Lynn