This post is a continuation of Lisa Hewitt’s contribution for the Lord Teach Us to Pray series, borrowed from her blog Digging for Myrrh.
Lisa is “a Christ-worshiper, writer, kitty-mama and wannabe saint (with a long way to go). Trying to stay on the path and appreciate the beauty…with daily thanksgiving. Trying to listen for His song and sing along…and loving every note.”
On “Reimagining How We Pray” Day 2
Yesterday I talked about trusting God even through our own discomfort. (You can read the post here.)
If we’re honest, I think many of us might confess that our prayer life is sometimes…well, boring. I can easily go through the same steps every day, in the same place, with the same mug of coffee or tea and the same cat on my lap. And I will confess that on more than one occasion I have looked out my window and asked God, “Am I boring YOU as much as I’m boring me?” And yes, sometimes I go through “desert times” in my walk with God, when I pray my heart out and still feel like God’s posted “Out to Lunch” on His office door.
This post is not a remedy for that.
The problem, I think, isn’t that I don’t pray.
The problem is that all too often, I don’t listen.
I often forget the most important part of my prayer—that I am conversing with a Person. That He has things He wants to share with me. And often I am ungrateful and downright impatient when the King says He wants a few more minutes of my time. On more than one occasion, God has pulled me back to the couch when I’ve finished my list of petitions and gotten up to get on with my day. On more than one occasion, He has not answered my prayers the way I had hoped.
I want prayer to be easy and comfortable and organized, just like I want my God to be easy and comfortable and organized. All to often, He is not.
On top of this, God does not limit His interactions with me to my “quiet time.” Sometimes I think He deliberately waits until I’m in the shower or driving way too fast to a late appointment…just so I can’t immediately write down what He is saying and I have to chew on it instead. Sometimes He speaks in the silences; sometimes He waits to call out through the noise, or taps me on the shoulder during a movie. (Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?)
Now, I could tell you some of the obvious stuff (and I already have): take time out to be with God; listen, don’t just talk; change up your location and your prayer habits; and yes, do those Bible studies and blog posts and conferences and let them fire up your passion for Jesus.
But let’s get to the un-obvious, the easy-to-forget.
Christ is a person. And He wants to interact with you as a person. Your walk with Jesus—your prayer life—will not look like anyone else’s walk with Jesus/prayer life. So if you share your humble admissions and your best friend says, “Wow…God never talked to ME through the back of a milk carton,” you can laugh with her at the weirdness and the wildness of a God Who will not be defined.
When you dance and create choreography to a worship song and perform it just for Him, He will love it that you shared with Him. When you paint a picture inspired by a Bible verse or arrange wildflowers in a vase on the table and blow Him a kiss in thanks, He will hear your prayer. When you wash dishes and thank Him for the mouths fed by the meal (and the provision that supplied it), He will hug you as you dry them. Christ permeates us—if only we will let Him, and embrace Him, and open these eyes to see.
God deals with us as individuals because He is an individual. He knows how He fashioned you. He knows what makes you laugh, what frustrates you, what resonates with you, what gets your attention. He knows what makes you cry, what makes you love, what makes you hope. This is mystery. It is not to be explained. It is to be embraced.
So let me put this quite simply: Let God lead you in prayer. He knows what you need. He knows how you talk—and how you will best listen. He speaks the language of your heart. So find the couch or the monastery or the hiking trail or your morning commute, or stand at the kitchen sink or reflect on the blog post or dance across the living room floor, and let your heart sing, and let your heart listen.
All you need to do…is be with Him. He will be with you.
And if you’re getting bored with prayer? Tell Him. Who knows what He might bring into your life to wake you up!