The Attitude and Habit of Prayer
This has been an especially busy week for me. Honestly, it has been hard to find the “quiet time” with God like I need. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is hard to do when my brain and my schedule is all over the place. “Pray without ceasing.”
I think sometimes we miss the point. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice always,” and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Context, my friends.
The Attitude and Habit of Prayer
- Take joy in prayer. God doesn’t want prayer to be a drudgery or something we’re forced to do. He wants to hear from you. He delights in you. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Be filled with joy that the God of the Universe wants you to talk to Him. He’s excited when you check in. Prayer should flow from your heart as a natural response to the goodness, grace, and glory of God.
- Prayer is a dialogue with God. There’s no right or wrong way to pray. God does see all, but He wants us to connect with Him throughout the day. Prayer is about speaking what’s on your heart. It can be a word, 3 words, 10 sentences, an hour long rant in the daily commute, or pages in a journal. The point is to start speaking and be open to the Spirit throughout the day.
- Get in the habit of giving thanks immediately in the moment. On Monday, I was making a pasta sauce and I nearly set the kitchen on fire. Immediately, once the flames died on the stove, and I knew I was safe, I sent a quick prayer of relief and thanksgiving heavenward that I was okay and the house didn’t burn down. Prayer doesn’t just have to be after a scary situation. You can pray and praise God when that your teeth feel nice and clean after brushing, or you had a lovely kiss with your husband, or you woke up this morning. As my pastor says, God is the God of the marvelous and mundane.
6 Ways to Pray
There’s no specific right or wrong way to pray when you approach God with a humble, reverent heart. Sometimes rituals can help you concentrate. I encourage you to try something new on this list to stretch yourself. You can work through each type on a specific day of the week and re-do one you particularly enjoyed on Sunday (or whatever your 7th day is). You can also just mix and match as you desire. Or pick one that works and do it consistently. Keep in mind the aforementioned principles: joy in prayer, dialogue in prayer (just start talking), and thanksgiving in prayer.
- Find a quiet place (Pray internally). Find a place where you won’t be distracted. Try your bedroom, a park bench, a desk at the library, your kitchen sink, etc. Close your eyes, bow your head, and let the words flow from your heart.
- Dialogue with God (Pray aloud). Pick a spot where you won’t be overheard (Showers and cars are great places!). Speak your words aloud. This is a great way to “be real” with God in a stream-of-consciousness way.
- Journal (Write down your prayers). Shut off your inner editor and write your prayers. The great thing about this option is you have a record of what you prayed. You can go back later and see where you’ve grown, where God answered, what you’re still waiting on, and perhaps areas you still need to work on.
- Take a prayer walk (Pray in nature). Hike up the mountain. Walk through a park. Walk around a local nature preserve. Walk around your neighborhood. As you walk, begin praising God for His beautiful creation. Start praying about whatever comes to mind.
- Listen to music (Pray through song and dance). Meditate on the words of a song. I recommend downloading the K-LOVE app for positive, encouraging Christian music. Although, you don’t have to pick a Christian song. This (past) summer, I experimented with listening to various instrumental songs and danced around (like no one was watching) as the Holy Spirit led.
- Use Scripture (Pray through His Word). Read a particular Scripture passage (Psalm 121 is a great place to start). Pray through the passage for your life and marriage.
I realize 3 things: 1) Lent has already begun, 2) Lent is 40 days long, and 3) many of you have already prayed through these 30 Prayers during the 30 Dates in November Challenge 2015.
I encourage you to spend the next 30 days of Lent (a season of reflection and for new holy habits) praying for your heart, husband, and marriage. Even if you’ve prayed these prayers before, consider doing this again with fresh eyes.
What rituals do you use to pray? Which of these ways appeals to you the most? How do you get into the habit of praying regularly and keep a good attitude?
This Upcoming Week in Social Media
Twitter – Quick prayers to pray & share
Facebook – Thoughts & encouragement on the different ways to pray and Wednesday weekly wrap-up
Pinterest – Check out my Spiritual Growth board for Prayer and Spiritual Intimacy encouragement, thoughts, and ideas