Do you ever feel (Okay, I just start thinking about Katy Perry’s Firework at this precise moment.) like your prayer life is lousy? You are not sure what to say? The idea of praying in public gives you sweaty palms, especially if you have to hold hands. If there is a prayer circle where everybody has to pray, you map out what you are going to say, and then pray that nobody takes your line. Maybe you are that person. Maybe you just don’t pray. Maybe you are only that person some of the time.
I must admit my prayer life is not the greatest, but my desire is for that to change. I want to talk to God, like genuinely talk to Him every day. Most of the time, I only pray when I am in serious trouble or when I am at church. Sometimes I pray after I read a few verses in the morning. Usually, the post-Bible reading praying plays out like this:
I scrunch my eyes together and say, “God thank you for helping me make it to another day. I am sorry for not coming to you with the issues of the day. Things could have probably gone a lot better if I had just. . . I will do better tomorrow. . . Speaking of tomorrow . . .What exactly am I suppose to turn in tomorrow? Shoot, did I forget to email that parent? Hmm, what is the plan for lunch, since I only purchased burgers at Costco, last Saturday? Why didn’t I make a grocery list? Oh, yeah I forgot the list.”
My prayer time with God is limited to five minutes or less a day. I can come up with a whole slew of reasons why I don’t pray that much. None of them are truly authentic reasons. In the past, I set out to remedy my lack of prayer with the study of several prayer books. They were good books, and I used the books’ prayer formulas and suggestions the whole time span it took to finish the books. After I finished the books, my prayer life would then fizzle and spark, until I read another prayer book or went to a conference or on a mission trip where prayer is an important part of the activities.
Yet, in these past few weeks I have felt convicted about my lack of prayer life. I want prayer to be a necessity in my day like brushing my teeth and drinking caffeinated beverages. I want it to be a passion I can’t live without. The last couple weeks of Sunday school have been over the discussion of being connected with Christ and the role of Holy Spirit in our lives. It made me think and eventually prompted me into action. I read another book about prayer, Before Amen by Max Lucado. I almost expected it to be another book about ways to pray, but Lucado kept it simple (which is why I enjoy reading his books).
His suggestion? Simply pray. Pray. He focused on Luke 11:1-4, The Lord’s Prayer. He even rephrased the prayer in 21st century lingo:
You are good.
I need help. Heal me and forgive me.
They need help.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Lucado also pointed out that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, why can’t we?
I did. I ask God for some help on communicating with Him.
This week I resolved to say at least one thanks; pray for at least two people; and give a personal request every day. One day, I prayed that I would have patience with my students after a sleepless night. As a result, I was a lot more positive with my students, and I think they were more behaved than usual. Or maybe I just had a God focused attitude. Another day, I asked God for a hug or just a sliver of encouragement. That night I had a phone conversation with my brother about life, disappointment, and struggles. I hung up feeling better.
My prayers are still not fancy affairs. They still consist of one liners, but my prayers are more frequent, centered. I am more aware of God’s presence in every day affairs.
I may never be labeled a prayer warrior, but that is okay. I just want to have conversations with God and I want to build my relationship Him. Thankfully, He doesn’t mind if my prayers are short, lacking eloquence and flow. He just wants to talk with you, me, and everyone that He loves and sacrificed His life for.