Tomorrow is the one year birthday of my book, Pray Confidently and Consistently! To celebrate, I’m giving a small peek into the most important lessons I’ve learned about prayer.
Ever since I created our monthly prompted prayer journal format 9 years ago, my life has radically changed, not just my prayer life. That’s the craziest thing about prayer. When we pray more, it doesn’t just affect our prayer time. It alters all of life.
Our attention spans are a constant battle.
Even though I know the value of prayer in my life, I still battle the same temptations and distractions. We’re up against all (ok, I’ll be generous and say most) of Silicon Valley, who’s working overtime to make dings, colors, and online features more enticing. Prayer isn’t as flashy and that doesn’t stop being true after you become consistent in prayer. But the good news is my next point…
Coming back to God after some distance gets easier.
In my book, Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday, I talk about lots of things I learned that changed the mom I was. It didn’t mean I never got frustrated, but it did mean the frustration was shorter, less intense, and not as often. The same can be said for the periods of distance in my prayer life. They are shorter, less intense, and not as often! The muscle memory of consistent prayer in previous seasons helps me jump back in!
Coming back to God after some distance is always good.
My first thought after a really sweet prayer session on the tale end of neglecting prayer time is “why didn’t I do this sooner!”. If you’re feeling distance from God right now, do not wait! Take a minute to start praying right now. The rest of this post can wait. If you need help getting started, check out this guided prayer for when you feel distant.
I’ve never regretted the time I’ve spent in prayer.
Prayer is never a waste. If you feel that way, I get it. There’s one person who really wants to convince you of that, and it’s not God. 😉 Regardless of whether our prayers are answered how we hope they will be or not, the time in the presence of the Lord is transforming. We cannot sit with the creator of the universe and not be changed. You may not feel it the moment you get up from prayer time, but it’s the same as growing taller. You don’t wake up the next morning a foot taller. It’s happening though!
If you get bored, get creative.
With our specific format, there is so much room for versatility! Just this month, I tried something new. For my list of prayers for myself, I always have a verse paired with each request, seen here. This month, I prayed through that list for others. A few examples, for “peace in Christ”, I prayed this for every person I know that is struggling with anxiety right now. For “energy”, I prayed and imagined every person I know who’s tired. It was so cool to pray things that I normally pray for myself and pray for others, because of course, I’m not the only one struggling with these things. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, you know? This allowed me a good starting point as well as a good vantage point, praying for things I was so familiar with. It’s also fun because there’s an element of, “I have no idea who this prayer is for, but I’m excited I get to be a part of it!”. That was a very long answer, but suffice to say, if you feel bored with prayer, don’t let it be a sign to quit or take a break until an overwhelming emotion hits. Add some variety!
Prayer is a privilege.
As a people, we spend a lot of time complaining about prayer. We see it as this obligation or duty and it’s obviously part of that, but it’s also an incredible privilege we take for granted. It’s like someone trying to twist your arm to eat food. It’s literally part of a Christian’s survival, and a gift that we’re provided for, but instead, we see it as a bother.
God’s ways are better than my ways.
Prayer can be a mysterious thing, but after studying the Bible about prayer (and writing about it in Pray Confidently and Consistently), I feel so much more sure that God’s ways are best. I have had 2 distinct seasons over the last 9 years where I felt abandoned by God. I was able to say with assurance that that wasn’t the case, but I still felt that way in my circumstances. Getting an understanding of eternity and time, I feel like I understand better the big no’s in my life.
God is far more gracious than we think He is.
I’ve had in my head for so long, that God is a serious God. He wasn’t always frowning at me, but He was not smiling either. God delights in His children. He WANTS to spend time with us. It’s not a big disciplinary meeting. You didn’t get sent to the principal. You got invited to sit at the head table of someone who loves you. I grew up a good girl and really valued my choices as to why God loves me, and as I get older and have a lot more room for error, I realize my good works didn’t get me a discount on salvation. Jesus paid it all.
It’s really easy to focus on my comforts.
My prayers have drastically changed over the last 9 years. I started out praying with our journals because I really desired a smooth pregnancy and delivery. God was generous to deliver, but I’m praying bigger prayers now. Eternal prayers that go far beyond how comfortable my day is. I’m praying for church growth and salvation. I’m praying for humility and boldness. I’m praying less for a successful business, and more to be faithful wherever God has me. Don’t get me wrong. There are still plenty of prayers for the girl’s school year and energy and healing, but when I pray, I see more eternal things and that’s brought more joy than I can explain.
No more chalking things up as coincidence. Or, “Well, that maybe would have happened anyway.”. Every answered prayer is for God’s glory. So what happens when we attempt to tuck those answered prayers in and not acknowledge that they ever happened? We miss out on seeing God’s glory unfold in the lives of little old me and you.
We can pray anytime and anywhere, but a routine makes it more likely.
For so long, I wanted to encourage the tired mom or busy woman that we can fit prayer in anywhere. It’s available 24/7. A solid routine isn’t necessary to experience God. And that’s true, but I don’t want to discount how a consistent habit of prayer makes it exponentially more likely that we will choose to pray in those little pockets. A habit of prayer has been crucial to me staying connected with God in the busy seasons of life.
I will never settle for a lackluster prayer life again.
My life has been very far from perfect. And that’s not a reason not to pray. It’s every reason to pray more. I cannot imagine my life without being able to consistently go to God in prayer. If you are going through hard things, know that God didn’t intend for us to walk through them alone. He’s with us. He walks with us in the valleys, but so often, we’re trying to claw our way out on our own to even notice.
Friend, this is your invitation to a deeper, real, adventurous prayer life with the Lord. He’s running after You. He wants to sit with You. You can certainly do that without our tool, but we’ve made one that’s specifically helping thousands of people transform their lives. Not because it’s magic. It simply clears out the noise and helps you focus on this conversation that’s waiting for you. Dive in and I know you won’t regret it!
Tell us in the comments. How has your prayer life changed as a result of more consistent time in prayer?