I have to come to realize something after thirty-plus years of being a Christian. I cannot pray silently for more than a few minutes. I can’t tell you how many times I have begun to pray only to eventually find myself examining the moles on my arm for possible skin cancer or something.
I have to pray out loud. I tried writing my prayers out a few times, but because I’m left-handed and have a weird pencil grip, that is far too laborious for me. Plus, then I find myself editing my prayer.
I do best with a prayer list. This helps keep me focused, and gives me a structure to follow. Since I was trained by the Navigators, I follow the ACTS order of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.
For Adoration, I’ve written out attributes of God alphabetically, which I read and praise God for, or I select a few attributes and really focus on those.
Then for Confession, I’ve written out the sins I’m most prone to, and read those out loud and confess them and ask for forgiveness and help to overcome them.
For Thanksgiving, I thank God first for forgiving my sins so readily, and then go on to thank Him for my blessings. These range from “my husband and children” to “hot and cold running water”. Before you laugh, next time you’re in a nice warm shower, think about what it would be like to NOT have access to hot and cold running water, and I bet you’ll add that to your list of blessings, too.
For Supplication, I pray for my family, and then I try to vary who I pray for beyond that, so my prayers don’t get stale.
The hardest thing about prayer for me, though, is just doing it. It’s so easy to put off, but I find if I begin my day by reading the Word and praying, the tone of my day is completely changed, and I am more likely to keep my thoughts on God. Those days that don’t start with prayer, I’m more stressed, less likely to reach out to God throughout the day for help and guidance, and less likely to respond in a Christ-like manner.
Quite simply, for me, the secret to having a daily time of Bible reading and prayer is going to bed at a reasonable hour. If I stay up late, no way I’m going to have energy to get up early enough to pray. ‘Cause if I haven’t gotten enough sleep, I bet you can guess what happens when I close my eyes to pray. Or I do that “I’ll just say my prayers lying down” thing, which has never worked ever.
Nope, for me, it’s got to be sitting up. No kneeling, because then all I focus on is how uncomfortable I am. No standing, because then my back starts to hurt. Sitting is it.
The most special times in my prayer life are when I feel the presence of God. It doesn’t happen every time. It usually doesn’t last that long, but when it does, I feel my shoulders relax and I smile in recognition and remembrance of Who we serve, our infinite, merciful, tender God.
Written By: Terri Welch,
Cypress UMC Media Department