I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God. It changes me.
The problem is, desiring to pray and actually praying can feel like completely different things. We can get into ruts or just life situations where prayer feels more like bouncing a football off a brick wall than a vibrant communication line with our Heavenly Father.
Here at the beginning of 2020 we wanted to look at different elements of prayer and tools that can help you connect in prayer plus also open up the conversation to find out how you speak with God in prayer.
A helpful way to remember to pray can be depositing prayer Scripture cards around the home. Use one as a bookmark and either pray the Bible verse each time you grab that book or write some prayer requests on the back and work your way through them.
Stick one next to your mirror that you can pray as you clean your teeth. Put one next to the front door that you can quickly read and pray as you walk out the door.
- what do I say to God?
- how do I say I’m thankful?
- what if I don’t remember to pray for the person who just asked me to pray for them FIVE minutes ago? (Hands up who has done that!)
We get it. We so do.
There is a way to be more intentional with your prayer time.
Journaling can be a tool for all of these questions in how you spend your time with God and even remembering to pray for others, and for things in your life.
Here are a few ideas of different ways you can journal to help connect with God:
- Writing out your prayers helps you have a reference to see the conversations you've been having with God. You get to go back and read through how God has communicated to you.
- Taking notes as you follow along with the preaching at your church, or possibly while listening to a podcast, helps you take in the words in a new way. You could doodle thoughts, write out verses to remember and mark down any actions you want to take. (Check out these great sermon notebooks if you want some direction.)
- Documenting your dreams, visions and goals (see Create Friday's notebook!) gives you the chance to come back to them and pray into what God has for you in those and what direction He is leading you.
Have you used journaling in any of these ways? How have you seen it affect your daily faith?
Jewellery in and of itself can’t do anything but it can make a great reminder.
Sometimes, with all the goodwill in the world, we just forget to pray. We get up in the morning, do our quiet time and then power on through our day and its not that we’re deliberately not praying, we just forget.
Jewellery, or something you use regularly like a lanyard, can be a useful tool to remind yourself.
Whether it’s a house shaped key ring that reminds you to pray for everyone living in your home each time you pull out your keys or a necklace featuring the word ‘love’ as a reminder to pray for a more loving attitude or a situation that needs God’s love infused into it.
A challenge with praying can be keeping track of what you’ve prayed – and how it was answered (or if you’re still waiting for an answer). We can sometimes wonder: "will prayer help?"
A prayer box is one tool to help you spend time with God and physically see when and how He answered them. It enables you to write down your prayers and keep them in one place, which makes it easy to look back and see how God has moved in those prayers. You could even date the individual cards.
Another way of using the prayer box would be to write down a prayer and stick it in a place you’ll see frequently (the inside of your phone case can be a great home!) – every time you see that card, pray what you wrote on it.
You know when someone at church asks you to pray for a situation? Write it down on one of the cards and stick it to your mirror or next to the front door. It helps keep it at the front of your mind and you can then check in with them the following week and see how God moved!
An easy way to keep prayer at the forefront of our mind is to literally have it staring us in the face!
When recently going through a rough patch, I simply wrote out the words ‘but God’ and stuck them up next to my work area. When I was struggling, my eyes would catch the reminder and I’d start praying through the situation, remembering all those fantastic stories in the Bible where humanly speaking it was finished but God stepped in.
Remember: prayer changes us. It allows us to rely on God, instead of trying to do all things on our own.
Prayer does not have to be complicated, it can be as simple as saying "thank you" or "I need your help." Prayer can be over long hours or just minutes. No matter the time, it connects us back to God and centres us as we move throughout the day.
We'd love to hear from you, our lovely Cheerfully Given community: how do you pray? What are some ways you've found helpful to connect with God as you go about your day-to-day life?