Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How to pray when you have the attention span of a puppy in a field of bunnies

OK, every once in a while I decide to Sort-My-Prayer-Life-Out. I'm sure many of you can relate, even if you dont pray, it is just like any other kind of resolution. I normally last about a week of doing 15/30/60 minutes (whatever I decided to do that time) before I miss a few sessions and then feel too guilty to pray at all. Kind of misses the point of having a relationship with God through prayer if I just use it to generate periodic bursts of guilt, n'est pas? This is what I do now, maybe it will help you. Or maybe you need to tell me i need to get back to being on my knees for an hour a day and try harder to focus. Let me know what you think :)

When I eat I say a prayer.
When I walk I say a prayer.
When I start a car journey, I say a prayer.
When I put my daughter to bed, I pray with her.
When I go to bed I pray with my wife (if she is awake).
When I read a prayer request on email I say a prayer.
When I see some bad news I say a prayer.
When someone prays at church or elsewhere I pray with them.
When I start a difficult task I pray.
When I have to make a big decision I pray.
When I feel anger, or despair, or joy, or love, I pray.

Not everytime, but if I miss one or two, then it is not such a big deal, and over a day I have ended up doing lots of praying. And I have spent time with God, the transcendant one, throughout my day.

4 comments:

  1. J
    I identify with the issue you are grappling with. My view is that we do need a time daily where we are committed to a chunk of prayer time with a focus. I do this each morning (well most) at 5.00am - but this works for me.
    However, it doesn't stop here my friend. Like you I believe that our whole life must be saturated in prayer, from when we wake up to when we go to sleep. I find that your list is very similar to mine,that I find myself talking to God and listening throughout the day and this has become a habit of life for me.
    We need to live Kingdom lives in community with each other and a big part of being able to successfully achieve that requires being in tune with God, and that requires a heart attitude directed toward prayer as an essential and integrated part of our being and doing life.

    Antony

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  2. One of the cool things about living in a Muslim country for me was hearing the call to prayer! Even at 4:30am in the morning and 4 times subsequently every day.

    Here in NZ every time I hear the local Buddhist temple gong..its not as regular as the Muslim call or as early but I still have a similar response.

    I love the simplicity of the Lords prayer to bring me into God's presence at each of these promptings.

    I also miss seeing clergy going off to morning prayers in the cathedral 4 or 5 times a week. Knowing that they are leading by example great. making prayer a priority in our daily routines

    Be encouraged that as you pray God is being worshipped and you are inspiring and encouraging others also

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  3. At the risk of sounding fad-following, does it not depend on one's love language as to how we build our relationship with God?

    If spending time with, or words of affirmation are your thing, then go for it, spend hours on your knees. If acts of service are the way that you show love, then commune with God through your good deeds of service. If giving gifts shows your love, then find every opportunity to give to God's kingdom. Each of these are building your relationship with God.

    The complication arises in the fact that we are people - we don't just fit into a box. Therefore, we must learn to do all of these; but not necessary equally. I suggest focussing on the expression of love that fits the personality God created for you.

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  4. I've got to say when I saw the title of this it made me laugh and perhaps thats not the right response but its sooooo true of me!! I never last long in trying to stick to an alloted time of prayer. I like your ideas Jon and will give it a go today :)

    David and Jane - I love your view.. particularly about using your own expressions of love.

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