A Year Of Prayer – Kimberlee Conway Ireton

by Christine Sine

Kimberlee Conway Ireton has already accepted the Return to Our Senses challenge – not just of Lent but for the entire  year. She will be posting regularly on this blog over this period.

Kimberlee comments: As you’ll read below, 2013 is my (second) Year of Prayer. To help hold me accountable to this commitment to live more prayerfully, I promised myself (and my blog readers) that I’d write about (some of) my prayer experiences. Since Christine’s book on prayer, Return to Our Senses, will be a large part of my Year of Prayer, she’s kindly letting me crosspost my prayer reflections here on Godspace.

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Last January, I declared 2012 my year of prayer. And I made some strides toward being more prayerful last year: I began praying the Psalms each day (I’ve prayed through the whole Psalter twice in the past six months); I continued to update and pray over the names on my prayer window; I kept up a steady stream of gratitude prayers, writing many of them down (I’ve listed over 3,000 gifts in the three years since I undertook this discipline); and I experimented with praying Scripture and other blessings over my children at times beyond bedtime, like before they leave for a class or a playdate.

But despite continuing to practice my accustomed prayer disciplines and adding a few more to the mix, I know I have a long way to go—to grow—in learning to pray, in living a life of prayer.

Then, too, some time around August, I got distracted from my year of prayer and stopped growing, just sort of coasted on autopilot for a few months. Oh, I still prayed in the ways that had come to be habits, but I wasn’t stretching myself. Sometimes we need to rest on the rails of habit; that’s why we create habits in the first place: so they can sustain us when life starts to pull in too many different directions. But I’ve had a nice long rest, and now I’m ready to start stretching again.

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Which is why I’ve decided that 2013 is going to be my second year of prayer. Who knows? This may become an annual thing.

For now, it means a commitment to:

  1. read four books on prayer this year,
  2. blog once a month about something in those books that has me thinking and/or praying in new ways,
  3. choose one new-to-me prayer practice to embrace each month, and
  4. blog the end of each month about that practice and my experience of it.

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My first book on prayer will be Eugene Peterson’s Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer. I will be drawing the monthly prayer practices from Return to Our Senses: Reimagining How We Pray, a new book by Christine Sine. This month’s prayer practice will be blessing the water, mostly because I am heartily sick of rain, and I want to practice giving thanks for this precious resource that is in abundant supply in my life.

My hope (and prayer) this year is that as I grow a little (or maybe a lot?) deeper into prayer, I will also grow closer to Christ. After all, that’s the whole point of prayer, isn’t it?, to become ever more deeply rooted and grounded in God. And that’s what I want, to send down deep roots so that I can lead a life fully pleasing to the Lord, bearing fruit worthy of the Gospel.

Kimberlee Conway Ireton is a mother of four and the author of The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year.

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