Tim and Jill Way

Adventures of the Way Family

It Doesn’t Work! (for me) — Part 2

Daily prayer. Consistent, intentional time with Jesus. Reading the Bible. Ok, so I do need it. And maybe I’m ready to think about trying this whole thing… again. It hasn’t worked before. But maybe there’s hope. I’m fairly skeptical, but maybe. So… how do I do it?

I’m going to give a few simple and practical ideas that I hope will be helpful. There is no formula for this. Remember, we’re talking about a relationship. The most important relationship of your life! And relationships can be unpredictable. And messy. And no two are exactly the same. Before I get to the ideas of what to actually do when you pray, there are a couple of important thoughts to get us started.

First, I urge you to begin small. That’s basic enough. Don’t try and be a spiritual giant in a day. Set a goal to pray and read the Bible for 15 minutes every day. You can do that. Eventually, you’ll probably want to do more. But don’t worry about that for now.

Secondly, begin simply. There are many places to go in the journey of prayer. There is much we can do in interceding for our friends, for our church family, and even for the world. We can soar to lofty places in adoration and worship. We can dig deep into personal consecration, inner healing, and total surrender. But there is plenty of time for all that. Begin with the love of God. Ask Him to reveal His love to you, and take a minute to receive it. Tell Him that you love Him, too. Begin to ask him for the things that you need, and tell Him about your problems, and how you feel. Yes, this is self-focused prayer, and not the most tremendous kind perhaps. But it is prayer, and it is vitally important, and God calls us to it. It’s a great place to begin, and to come back to often, no matter where we are on the journey.

Here are 11 (11 is more powerful than 10) suggestions for what to do with your devotional time. Be creative, and be you.

  1. Read one chapter of the Bible, and take a few minutes to pray whatever comes to your mind as you interact with the Word.
  2. Pray through the Lord’s Prayer – taking a moment after each line to reflect or go deeper. Or, in a similar way, pray through a psalm.
  3. Mix prayer with something else that you genuinely enjoy. A cup of coffee. An artistic expression. My favorite prayer activity during this season is walking in our neighborhood park. This has become a sacred place to me, as I have enjoyed fellowship with the Father there over the years.
  4. Journal. I often love to write out my prayers to God. For some reason, I find it easiest to listen to Him as I write to Him. I will sometimes have my prayer time at a favorite coffee shop, writing and listening to the Holy Spirit.
  5. Make use of a 24-7 prayer room. These provide a wonderful atmosphere of prayer. They inspire creative ways of spending time with God, and doing it as part of a wider community. For information on the Tulsa Boiler Room’s prayer room, check here: http://www.tulsaboilerroom.com/prayer/prayer-room-info/
  6. Listen to a worship song, and let that catapult you into a time of communion with Jesus.
  7. Mix it up sometimes, and do something different. Pray in a different location, or with a different focus.
  8. Use a liturgy. There are some great ones out there. You can use an online tool such as this one: http://m.explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/hours.php, or get a great book, like Celtic Daily Prayer.
  9. Pray in tongues. Seriously. This is a gift from the Father, and His gifts are good.
  10. Pray with others sometimes. This can be tough and awkward, but very rewarding. It brings greater intimacy with the Father, and also greater intimacy with your friends. You can use most of the ideas mentioned here in corporate prayer as well as individual prayer — such as praying through a psalm, using a liturgy, etc. (Note: Journaling may not be the best corporate prayer activity, Tyler).
  11. Remember to pray throughout the day. Turn the radio off in your car sometimes, and focus on Jesus. Turn to God for small conversations dozens of times each day. This works best when combined with a daily, intentional time together.

You will likely have many starts and stops. Lean heavily on grace. There is no condemnation. When I miss a meal, I don’t feel guilty – but I do feel more hungry for the next one.

Remember that this is about following Jesus, and growing in intimate friendship with him. This is his invitation, and it is the greatest thing in the world. You get to spend time with the God of everything, because He pursues you and invites you.

Jesus likes spending time with you.

(isn’t that kind of a freaky thought?)


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