This post could get quite lengthy. Just a fair warning.
Our ladies' Bible study discussed prayer last night, and it was such a good discussion that I wanted to share it with you. In my own life, my prayer time has dwindled. I'm not consistent. God and I may talk every day, but sometimes those oh-I-forgot-to-pray-so-let-me-get-one-in-before-bed ones that go something like, "Hey, God, today was a rough day, help me get through tomorrow, forgive me of my sins, love You, amen." The 10-second tops type. And that's not how prayer should be. We don't talk to our best friends (hopefully we don't!) like that. Why should we give our Best Friend the least amount of our day?
One of the questions posed last night was, "How do you prepare for prayer?" I was a little stunned. I don't really prepare for prayer. In my morning Bible studies, I pray before I begin that God will open my eyes to what He wants me to learn from Scripture, I do a SOAP (Scripture/Observation/Application/Prayer -- thanks again, Tara, for showing me that) and, at the end, naturally, I pray again, this time more about what I learned during the reading. But preparing for prayer...I don't really do that.
How do I prepare for my best friend's arrival at my house? Usually I clean up, I may light a candle, and I wait, usually impatiently (haven't we talked that I lack patience?) for her arrival. Same kind of goes with God. I enjoy Bible studies in a clean area that smells good and usually with a cup of coffee in hand. But my mind is not prepared. My mind isn't focused, and that's what I brought up last night. I have no problem in leaving out the "thees" and "thous" that apparently, from what I read, is a big issue with a lot of individuals. Kyle was really surprised when we started praying together at how I pray. I talk like it's a full blown conversation (probably some of this comes from the fact that I do talk to myself, LOL). But I'm not trying to be funny or silly or irreverent. I'm talking with my Abba Father, and this is how I talk. I'm spastic, I'm sincere, but, too often, I'm unfocused.
Our pastor's wife passed out a really cool prayer plan last night that I wanted to share with you. I prayed with this guideline this morning, and it really helped (Even though part of me wanted to say, "Oh, let's start on a Sunday, a brand new week," but, thankfully, I'm impatient, lol). I know the Lord's Prayer is our model outline prayer, and this goes right along with that.
1. I start each prayer time this way -- "ACTS"
2. Next, I pray daily for the following:
My husband -- or, for those who are single, your future husband -- one girl in class said she prayed for the 3 Ss for her future husband: that God keep him safe, single, and sober =)
My children -- or, in my case and many others, future children
3. Then select the appropriate day:
Monday -- Family (extended)
Tuesday -- Friends
Wednesday -- Missionaries
Thursday -- Nonbelievers
Friday -- Sick
Saturday -- Leaders
Sunday -- Church
4. Request List
Prayer items that I want to voice daily to God.
Suggestions: Place in binder and keep in your special place of solitude. Always write the date you enter a request and the date the request is answered. Please feel free to make this plan work for you and adjust it any way you need. The most important thing is to begin this spiritual discipline.
I need to stay focused. I need to stay consistent. I need to pray more for those around me. I've been lacking in this area.
But I'm going to try to do better.
**BTW, thanks for the comments yesterday! Y'all really brightened my day! I will wear my headband happily all through summer!! =D