This post is by Briane Kerns.
My life verse is Romans 12:12: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I so wanted to be faithful in prayer! But I believed that a period of long, concentrated prayer every day was required. And I struggled to make that happen.
True confession, my mind runs NONSTOP. I had a difficult time focusing on the long, intense, world changing prayers that I thought God was calling me to pray. And many days I raced out the door with just enough time for the few quiet moments with God I needed to steady me before I faced the world. I felt like I was failing at prayer!
Then one day I had a light bulb moment. I realized that prayer is not only an uninterrupted, quiet, time of retreat with God. Prayer is ongoing conversation with the Lord of all, who knows my circumstances and constraints. Over time I developed and energized my prayer life by doing the several key things.
First, I keep a list of the people and situations for whom I am praying. This allows me to keep track not only of my prayers but also the answer to those prayers as they come.
Second, I write down specific prayers. For instance instead of saying “Lord please bless _________," my prayer is a very specific request for that person or situation. It is difficult to see God’s answer to prayer when you are not praying specifically. And God wants us to see that He is answering our prayers because it brings Him glory, and builds our faith.
Third, I “tie” prayers to daily activities, instead of silence, solitude and retreat. There are many times during my day when I am alone and have the opportunity to pray right where I am. So, I embed prayer in activities that I perform every day. I pray for certain people or situations as I am doing specific activities. For example, when I brush my teeth I pray for my widowed mother. (Her father was a dentist, so it’s easy to remember to pray for her when I brush!) When I scrub the dishes, I pray for a member of my family with every dish. When I have a dirty pan that needs scrubbing, I pray for a particularly “sticky” or challenging situation.
Fourth, I placed items in areas of my home and office to remind me to pray for people when I am in that area. Photos of my grandsons remind me to pray daily for their health and activities. My grown son’s baby shoes remind me to pray for his health, faith and marriage. A gift from my daughter reminds me to pray for her and her family.
Fifth, I connect prayers to physical locations outside my home. Traffic is an ideal place for this! There are multiple intersections with long stop lights that I designate as “prayer stops.” Whenever I encounter a red light I pray specifically for something: our nation, our leaders, my church, and others. This in turn has made me so much more patient at red lights! I don’t mind them when I use the pause in driving to talk to the Lord.
These practices connect me in prayer to the Lord each day. I now have a running conversation with Him. Prayer is not a once daily event but an ongoing life practice.
But something else emerged as I built the practice of prayer throughout my day. The frequent, brief, daily prayers opened the door to deep, lengthy personal times of conversational prayer with God on a regular basis. By speaking to God throughout the day, my mind is able to settle into Spirit led conversations that are richer than ever before. I am no longer focused on “checking off” prayer requests. Instead I am able to have deep communion with God. Which is the true point of prayer isn’t it?
I pray that these practices open the door for a richer prayer life for you as well!
Briane Pittman Kearns is a Jesus loving first born who celebrates being a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and two time breast cancer survivor. She loves teaching others that the Bible is relevant for today, her family, laughing with friends, encouraging women in their faith walk and being a southerner. She holds a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. You can find more of her words at www.BrianePittmanKearns.com
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