By Chris Denning
I don’t have enough time.
I have a hard time not falling asleep.
I don’t know what to say.
I’m not a psychic, but I’m pretty sure I just hit 95% of you reading this that don’t pray regularly. I get it; praying isn’t the most intuitive thing, especially if you didn’t grow up doing it.
Let me let you off the hook: It’s ok.
However, it’s not ok to stay there.
As we head into our new series about prayer, What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do, I wanted to take some time to give you some practical steps to becoming a more regular, more comfortable, and more empowered prayer. Let’s break it down to 3 simple questions you need to answer: When do I pray? Where do I pray? What do I pray?
When Do I Pray?
The best way to make sure that you are a more regular prayer is to make time to do it. Literally put it on your schedule.
Are you a morning person? Do it as a part of your morning routine. A night owl? Plan to do it as you wind down your day. Either way, if you want to grow in this area of your spiritual life, you need to schedule time to pray.
Once you find the right time for you, protect it. Don’t make it optional, take it seriously, as if you had an important meeting scheduled with someone else. Schedule it and then honor that appointment. Know WHEN you are going to pray.
Where Do I Pray?
Knowing where you’re actually going to pray is important as well. I’m talking about a physical location, like your porch, your dining room, your bed, your coffee shop, wherever!
There’s nothing magical about the place you decide to pray, but it should be a place where you feel comfortable (but not comfortable enough to where you’ll fall asleep #Guilty). Having a consistent place you pray will help you to learn how to settle in for your time of prayer. Routine is good, and location is a big part of that.
You can also set up this location with everything that you personally like to have with you to pray. This may be a journal, a Bible, a tablet, or maybe nothing at all. Setting the scene for your time to pray will help you to look forward to this time and be more consistent in your prayer life.
What Do I Pray?
This is probably the most common area of confusion or frustration for those trying to grow in their prayer life. I’ve got the time scheduled in my calendar, I’ve got my spot setup for my prayer time, but NOW WHAT?
What should I be praying for? What do I say? What shouldn’t I say? Do I need to sound more formal? What’s the magic words I’m missing?
Don’t worry, you’re normal. My advice: Be simple. Start with the things that are naturally on your mind and start the conversation with him. For me, that’s often my wife & family, my church, those in my Top 5, and even work.
There are also scripted prayers or scripture that you can use during your prayer time. The Book of Common Prayer has lots of scripted prayers that you can use (even though there’s some old language in there, it’s still pretty awesome), or you can look online to find some greta examples.
I use a lot of scripture when I pray for my family, as in I use scripture to guide what I hope my daughter becomes as she grows. I keep these in my Echo App (CHECK IT OUT!) and pray through them as I spend time praying for her. For reference, the passages I use for my daughter are Joshua 5:14b, 1 Samuel 15:22, 2 Samuel 22:17-18, 1 Kings, 3:9-12, 2 Chronicles 20:12, Proverbs 2:1-2, 29:11, 29:25, 31, & Matthew 4:19.
There’s no right or wrong formula here, but scripture can help to inform and enrich our prayers, as we use his words to express our hopes & desires.