some thoughts on prayer

I had the honor of spending some time yesterday morning with a sweet young lady who has been struggling lately … dealing with a lot of stuff. In the course of our conversation, I asked her about her prayer life and she said, “I don’t know how to pray.”

Not the first time I’ve had someone tell me that very thing. So, I’ve been thinking a lot today about the things I shared with her about prayer and how thankful I am that she was encouraged by them.

I think a lot of people are intimidated by prayer and perhaps that’s one reason why so many don’t pray.

there are no perfect pray-ers

So, here are some of the thoughts I shared with my friend about prayer. Maybe you’re uncertain about how to pray … maybe your prayer life feels stagnant … maybe you know someone who is struggling with prayer … maybe someone will ask you the same question my friend asked me … maybe these ideas will be an encouragement or help to you.

I told her prayer is simply talking to God … it’s not about big words or fancy phrases. It’s about honesty … and openness. It’s about listening and being still. It’s about singing and crying. It’s about brokenness and joy. There are no perfect prayers because there are no perfect pray-ers.

I shared with her that I write out a lot of my prayers. Here’s some of what I wrote yesterday morning in my prayer journal …

Busy day ahead of me … A girl from church is coming over this morning … Lord, please give me wisdom as I encourage her.”“Scott is still sick – waiting on dr to find out the next step. I am frustrated – as is he – but, Lord, I trust You – and I lay my questions, fears, and frustrations at Your feet. For Your love is true and provides all we need in all things. So I CHOOSE to dwell there – and trust entirely in You.”“Proverbs 2:20 – So follow the way of good people, and keep to the path of the righteous.
Lord, this is my desire – to keep to the path of the righteous! Draw me close, ever closer, to You in all things…”

I also shared with her my “Prayer List” that I write out every day. Here is Tuesday’s …

  1. C… family
  2. Sara – traveling today
  3. those affected by shootings – including 1st responders & police
  4. Scott
  5. Casiday – discipline& focus at school; wisdom for us in parenting
  6. Beth – prep for teaching, women who will come
  7. BIBC
  8. Pastor Tim
  9. Our revival – Brett
  10. Wisdom for us

I told her that as I write those things, I am praying. I make little notes about what I pray as I write. My list helps me keep track of answered prayers too.

I also shared how I pray Scripture. A quick glance through my Bible and you can find lots of writings in the margins such as these ~

  • Psalm 37: 23 -24 … May my steps be directed by You, O Lord!
  • Psalm 131 … Lord, teach me to live in this way …
  • Proverbs 10:18 … This is me today! Forgive me, Lord!
  • Proverbs 16:7 … Lord, help me walk in the ways that please You.
  • Proverbs 23:25 … Lord, I pray that my life brings joy to my parents.

Finally, I shared with her about some of my “prayer reminders.” For example, every time I glance down at my wedding rings, I utter a quick prayer of gratitude for my marriage. When I am folding laundry I pray for the members of my family as I handle their clothes. I have a friend whose husband is unsaved and every time I look at her house (which is across the street from me) I pray for her husband’s salvation. Casiday & I pray for those who are hurt and for those who will help each time we see an ambulance. Those are just a few of the reminders I have in my life that keep me focused on prayer throughout the day.

What about you? How do you “pray without ceasing”?

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