Thursday, June 2, 2011

Learning to pray

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.

Prayer Plan

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


sara said...

this was a great post! I think we can ALL relate to those 10 second prayers and needing more consistency in our prayer life...especially during those summer days. I have always found that journaling my prayers keeps me focused.

Meredith said...

I've just started to be more intentional about prayer too--I follow an acronym too, but it is PRAY--praise, repent, ask yield (so basically, really similar to yours).

I tried the rotating prayer schedule, but I found that it didn't really work for me. So now, I just pray about whatever is on my heart for that particular day.

Also, I write down my prayers--it's easier for me to stay focused that way, and I like going back in my prayer journal and being able to see how God worked through those situations.

Good luck!

Brooke said...

so you're cool with me copying this? i suck at prayer, sadly.

Kara With a K said...

My prayer life is inconsistent at best. I love these ideas, I may have to put them into practice myself.

septembermom said...

I love the idea of a prayer plan. This is a really helpful post for those of us who need to schedule and structure our prayer life. Thanks!

misti said...

I pray in the shower and in the car...and I get so easily sidetracked. My mind moves a million miles a minutes these days. Good post =)

Lindsey Walpole said...

You got to posting this before me..haha. I have already started a prayer journal and I cant wait to see how it changes me! :)

Rachelle said...

This is good. It is always good to be more intentional with prayer, something I can struggle with when life gets busy. Thanks for sharing!

College Essays said...

What a adorable blog you have posted, love it..