How do you define prayer?
Based on your prayer habits how would you explain it?
Is prayer a dialogue between you and God or is it a one-way lifeline you resort to when all else fails?
If I’m being honest my prayer life has been more of the latter. I’ve rushed through prayer because life is busy and so I get all of my requests off my chest and then move on. The piece I’ve been lacking is the part where I quiet my heart and allow God to speak into it.
Listening is a weakness of mine.
Something about being the oldest of three girls I learned quickly that if I wanted to be heard it would take A LOT of talking. Once I get to know someone I can talk their ear off. I’m well-aware of my addiction to my own voice.
But prayer isn’t a time for me to practice asserting myself. It’s not a relationship if I don’t pause and let the other party speak. I pray in the car on the way to work and I talk the WHOLE WAY.
When it comes to prayer I realize that most of the time that I’m talking I am asking, asking, asking. “God, please heal”, “God, please help”, “God, please show me…” It’s all a bunch of requests, but not a lot of thankfulness.
I do praise God for amazing things in my life, but I don’t think it is something that He hears enough from me.
Last night, as I sat in the youth group where I am serving in my church, I listened as the speaker read through many of Paul’s prayers. She read aloud the first several verses of every epistle and Wow, those are powerful words. Each book is opened with a greeting to it’s recipient, but also with Paul proclaiming who he is in Christ.
Following Paul’s example, the speaker asked each person to write out their proclamation. It’s easy to lose sight of who we are in Christ so this practice really helped me to refocus not just my prayer life, but my entire attitude. Below is my proclamation that I prayed last night:
Lauren, a servant of Jesus set free from selfishness;
in order to make disciples of
God’s Chosen People;
through the blood of Jesus I was set free from the bondage of sin;
And though it may present itself daily I am able to overcome by His blood.
I was created to learn, to teach, to grow, and to thrive so that all might come to a saving faith in the Lord.
What an awesome practice this was for my faith. In this act I was able to focus on who I really am as opposed to the lies of the enemy. It also cleared my mind to then listen and receive from God in a great way. If you’ve never done something like that please give it a try. It is empowering. Start by reading the first several verses of the books written by Paul (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians…) then write out WHO YOU ARE.
It may seem counter-intuitive that I said I need to listen more, but then also pray proclamations. However, when you begin your prayer time by refocusing your lens on who God says you are then the entire practice is flipped. You remind yourself of His goodness and suddenly all those requests you had planned to bring are trivial in the sight of His glory.
Finally, as a catalyst to improving my prayer life I am going to embark on a 40-day journey of written, honest prayer. Much of my time will be spent waiting on the Lord and listening as He speaks, but I want to record these prayers as a way of remembering.
Looking forward I’ve set some goals for my prayer life:
1. Listen and give God silence in which to move
2. Pray proclamations
3. 40 Days of written, honest prayer
Will you join me in this journey?
The Ameri Brit Mom