I have a question for you this week. What is your prayer life like? Now you do not have to answer out loud, but I encourage you to take a moment and ponder this question. Focus on aspects like your frequency, the duration of each instance, and the feelings you have before, during, and after.
Now I know that I said that you do not have to answer out loud, but I would like to. I have been examining my prayer life lately in each of these areas and I want to share with you what I have discovered. As far as my frequency, I try to pray five times a day: early morning, mid-morning, mid-day, early-evening, and evening. I even carry around a sheet in my organizer with prayers written out for each part of the day to help guide my thoughts as needed. Now some days I am more successful than others in my frequency; but that is my goal each day.
Looking at my duration I am all over the place. Some prayers are simple and short in length; a handful of minutes or so. Other times I have so much on my mind that I pray for 10, 20, 30 minutes or more.
Over the last few weeks I have really been focusing on my feelings quite a bit. I want to understand how I feel before I turn to God, how I feel as I am actively talking and listening to God, and how I feel after our conversation together. My feelings before, during, and after prayer have been the same for several years, but I never really took the time, till just recently, to examine them and describe these feelings specifically.
Those moments just before I pray, as I prepare myself, are filled with feelings of eagerness. I find myself looking forward to interacting with God. I am excited about what will happen during our time together. The revelations that will be had, the thoughts that will be unearthed, the problems that will no longer be mine to solve alone. Those pre-prayer moments hold so much anticipation for me.
Now as I pray, as I speak and God listens, I know I am being heard and that brings me incredible comfort. Comfort to know my Savior is listening and that my God will help me. Then as I listen, and I give God the chance to speak, I am expectant. Expectant that revelations will come, answers will be revealed, and a bond will be strengthened. When I am done praying, God is done teaching, and I say “Amen” my feelings turn to those of peace. I have now turned my cares and concerns over to God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” What a statement of peace! When we turn to Jesus we will find rest, rejuvenation, and a relationship where will never be alone. Where we will no longer have the burden of carrying our crosses alone, worrying alone, or grieving alone. God will always be with us to make our burden light. That is peace that is not of this world. That is God's peace!
My prayer life induces a multitude of feelings for me; eagerness, excitement, anticipation, comfort, expectancy, companionship, and peace, just to name a few. These are just a glimpse of what a strong prayer life can mean for each of us. I encourage each of you to examine your prayer life. Do not be afraid to make changes if your prayer life is not want you want it to be. God is waiting to talk with you, help you, listen to you, love you. Give God the chance. You will be glad you did.
Have a great week!