The disciples ask Jesus how to pray and He answers with what we commonly call “The Lord’s Prayer,” which can be found in Matthew chapter 6 and Luke chapter 11. In this column, I want to give you a way to enter deeply into prayer and make a concerted effort to make our prayer lives connected to the rest of our lives.
It is important that while we pray several times a day throughout the day, it is very important we have a prayer routine. When so many of our day to day routines are disrupted by COVID, our prayer routine becomes even more important. So, for those who have a solid prayer routine, let me just say, keep at it and make it more, not less, of a priority during these difficult times. For those who have heard about a prayer routine but never took the time, now is a great time to start a prayer routine. It will keep so many other events in life manageable and in perspective.
So, Recommendation No. 1: Find a place in your house that will be your prayer space. Some find a specific chair in the living room, a chair on the deck, or in the bedroom with a nightstand nearby. You may have seen the movie “The War Room” where the main character chooses a closet. Wherever you find your space, claim it as your prayer space.
Recommendation No. 2: Claim the time. Start with a short time period and continue adding time each week until you are at the time the Lord is asking of you. For some it will be 20 minutes for others it will be an hour. Will your prayer time be the first thing in the morning? For me, I turn off my alarm, put my contacts in and sit in my chair to begin prayer. If I do anything else next, there is a chance I will not return to the chair and pray. And if I don’t pray in the morning the whole rest of my day is off.
Recommendation No. 3: Keep at it. If I have a place and time each day, my body will actually start cooperating with my spirit to know it is time to pray: fewer distractions, more relaxed; quicker able to enter into the prayer experience.
Recommendation No. 4: Keep a Bible near your prayer space. Begin by asking the Lord to help you focus on his word and shed his light into what He wants to share with you. Then, open the Bible. There are scores of internet options as to how to pray from the scriptures each day. Pick one … the goal is to start … so, pick one. Don’t search for a month for the right one, just pick one. Or start with the Gospel of Matthew. Read about 6-8 verses and see what the reading means.
Recommendation No. 5: Read the same passage a few more times asking the Lord to give you His word and His Message. What does our Lord want to say to you? Prayer is a conversation, but oftentimes we forget the “listening to God” which is done best through His Word in Sacred Scripture.
Recommendation No. 6: After you have read the same passage a few times, begin giving your day to God. This can be done meditatively or with a prayer journal. Offer him your hopes and excitement for the day. Offer him what you believe will be difficulties and struggles. Offer him all the people you will encounter and that you can be the best disciple for him today in all activities and interactions. Ask him to help you be who He wants you to be throughout the day. Close with the perfect prayer, “The Lord’s Prayer.” Then, here is an important recommendation:
Recommendation No. 7: Trust your prayer and trust even more to whom you have prayed. If you are like me, the day you just offered will not go as planned. However, you gave it to the Lord who accepted your gift and will give it back to you in the best way He knows how; so we accept it back from him the best way we can which is by trusting him and letting him lead. And, this is how we align our prayer with our day. As we move through the day’s activities and interactions with people, we pray again remembering the scripture we started our day with. That Scripture passage is the Word with us and leading us.