You have decided to take some time to pray, maybe you have signed up for an hour as part of 24-7 Prayer. You begin to pray:
Hang on, *note to self* I need to remember to buy milk
- and fruit!
Lord I want to pray for my family that you would bless them, where they are.
*note to self* Oh, and I need to book tickets for that concert.
Sorry about that Lord, I will begin to pray now.
Lord, bring healing to that sweet old lady from church who fell and broke her arm.
And Lord, I want to ask you what I should do about my friend, who is getting into trouble… Lord, tell me now! I am listening to you!
*milk, fruit, book concert tickets, did I turn off the iron?*
So Lord, do you have an answer for me?
Do you recognise any of this from your own prayer time? Sometimes it’s hard to know what to pray for and how to formulate a prayer. When we pray we can easily get distracted by all the things we need to remember or think about. Do you find it hard to focus when you pray? Does praying for an hour seem like a difficult task?
Well, here is some good news:
- You are not the only one and
- Not very many people can stay focused for one hour
How do people pray for one hour? What do we think prayer is?
For many of us, we have been taught that prayer is sitting down or kneeling with our eyes closed and hands firmly put together, so we don’t get distracted and then either thinking our prayers or saying them out loud. If this is the only thing prayer is, then there will be very few people, if any, who can do this for an hour.
Prayer is so much more than this. It’s communicating with God and what is essential is that you find a way of communicating that suits you. It doesn’t have to be through sitting down quietly for an hour.
Think about how you like to communicate in your daily life?
Do you like to write?
Do you like to read out loud?
Do you like to sing?
Do you like to play an instrument?
Do you like to talk on the phone? Face to face? Via Skype?
Do you like to dance?
Do you like to act?
Do you like to be creative? Draw, paint or scrapbook?
And now think about how you like others to communicate with you.
Do you like to listen? to music or another person?
Do you like to watch? a performance or a video?
Do you like to read? books, newspapers, the Bible?
Do you like to look and observe things? paintings, animals, people, traffic, nature?
Look at the lists above – these are just some of the many ways we communicate with other people, so why not try these when you communicate with God?
How about writing your prayer?
How about drawing your prayer?
How about dancing your prayer?
How about singing your prayer?
How about reading your prayer? - out loud?
How about listening to God through music or through other people?
How about reading the Bible or a devotional book?
How about looking at a painting? What could God be saying to you through this?
I’ve found that being active in my prayer time, through drawing, writing or singing is my preferred way of communicating with God – and when I do, one hour goes by very fast and I want to spend more time in prayer.
How will you pray? How will you communicate with God?