I am reminding myself what prayer means and how to pray. I have given toss up prayers, fervent prayers, pleading prayers, and grateful prayers a lot lately. But what I haven’t done is any kind of official prayer time in a while. It has a lot to do with my schedule, a lot to do with my heart, and a lot to do with feeling like I suddenly don’t know where to start.
I have been reading through a couple books that have reawakened the sweetness and richness that comes from prayer and I find myself remembering what it was like to spend time in “fellowship” with God for an extended period.
One of the books is the devotional I have been reading and re-reading since last year, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It is great for a touchstone or re-centering in my day. But to think that this small reminder is going to feed me all day is like thinking a half-piece of toast will carry me through the day until dinner. I need some real meat and sustenance.
In all of the packing and unpacking we have done in the last year I came across a book I was given twenty-five years ago, as a new believer; Vance Havner’s Lord of What’s Left: Meditations of Hope and Inspiration. Each chapter is a reflective devotional that uses everyday events to remind us that this Earth is not our home and there is so much more to come. It reminds me a bit of my grandfathers and the way they related stories in a simple, straightforward manner.
Years ago, a dear friend gave me the book, Prayer- Does it Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey. I have not plowed through the book, as I would usually, but instead approached it like a rich meal. I read a few chapters and let them slowly process through my mind and heart. Reflecting on his perspective of prayer and how it relates to all of us this side of Heaven has helped to unbend the places that have been out of shape due to life’s strains and struggles.
My desire is not to have a checklist each day where I can mark off that I have spent time in prayer. It would be completely missing the point and purpose of prayer. At the same time, I do not want to go backward to the way I used to pray. My experiences are different, my season of life is different. It would be foolish to think the “old way” would work.
So, I search. I look for the simple ways I can relate and share my heart with God. Closing my eyes while sitting on the porch, breathing in God’s presence and breathing out my stress, anxiety, tiredness, and even frustration. I spend time in the truck, on the way to work, being still and listening to anything God may want to whisper to me for the day.
Prayer is the oldest way to connect with God, but it can be done in new fresh ways for me and that is the way I want to approach my relationship with God. The heart needs to be made new each day and my communion with God should be the same.
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live (Psalm 116:1-2).
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).