We all see powerful inspirational pictures about prayer, like this one above, that in the moment give us a feeling of peace and a boost to tackle the day, but then later when we actually get around to praying we struggle to find any real spiritual direction. Intrinsically, we know there is power in this simple act, but on a day to day basis we rarely feel like we tap into any of that.
Does this sound familiar?
Well, this was me before the death of my husband.
Personal prayer was more of obligation that I knew I should be doing… and I did, most of the time, even if it was in my bed as I drifted off to sleep, or in the car on the way to go running in the morning. Honestly, prayer wasn’t a huge priority. If everything was going well, it was something I didn’t really feel a need for. It wasn’t until I had a big problem that I would spend the time to have consistent heart-felt prayers. Those prayers were mostly for help, and after the problem was solved, I quickly faded back into my old routine of abbreviated and rushed prayers.
Then a problem happened that couldn’t just be solved….
All of the sudden my whole life was a problem that I couldn’t solve. Because there were no quick answers, my heart-felt prayers continued and I learned something I had never discovered before…
Prayer isn’t just for solving big problems.
I had a lot of pride and lack of humility to break down before God could get me to discover that… to get me to realize that I really did need His help and direction, and not only did I need it, but that I was a better person when I had it… to discover that I could do more things with His help than I could alone.
Through this process, I have completely change the purpose and how I format my morning and evening prayers.
My hope is that you can discover this principle in an easier way than I did.
- I ask that Satan will have no power over me. (I put on my protective gear)
- I express gratitude (This helps me feel love for God and lets me feel the spirit better, it opens my spiritual ears)
- I express my desire to serve Him and ask for direction and help to do that. (“Here am I, send me” Isaiah 6:8)
- I ask for the ability to prioritize correctly. (Good, Better, Best- I know I need to do the Best things first and not just get stuck on the Good)
- I think over the people I will come in contact with and the people that I could reach out to. (I actually have a list that I keep on a sticky note on my computer.)
- As I think of those people, I jot down anything that comes to mind. (I keep paper or my phone next to me when I pray, and yes, I stop to write things down. I know it’s a bit unconventional, but it works! Just try it. God always will give you more specific directions if you are going to write them down. He knows our memories are just not as good as His!)
- I always do people before tasks because in the end, relationships matter more than things. Helping people, not accomplishing tasks brings me greater peace and joy.
- I think of the tasks I need to do and ask for the help and time to do them in addition to the things He wants me to do.
- I ask for help making the improvements I noted the previous night (see below.)
- I express gratitude as I think over the events of the day and I recall the specific ways that I received help, guidance and direction. I thank Him for the opportunity of being His servant. (Again this helps me feel love for God and lets me feel the spirit better, it opens my spiritual ears)
- I ask Him to help me know the specific ways I need to change and how to be better.
- I think back over my day again and I make mental note of the things I need to do differently. (Warning: This is a very humbling experience. It can be very brutal to see all of your flaws!)
- I ask forgiveness for those things that I did wrong and for the mistakes that I made. I commit to the Lord to be better tomorrow. (Depending on the problem, I may discuss my plan for improvement)
- I pray specifically for people that I know need extra help.
- I take time to listen and to absorb the feeling of peace that comes from a day well spent and good things done.