Have you noticed how difficult it is to maintain a daily prayer discipline? It seems so simple, to take just a few minutes and say a prayer to God and yet praying remains a struggle for many Christians. You often hear:
- I don’t have time to pray! Not sure this is true. We do have the time to pray if we see prayer as a necessary part of having a healthy day. We could say, as many do, “I don’t have time for lunch…” and so we don’t eat. Yet we know that by skipping lunch we are not making a wise and healthy choice. Yet many do and they are willing to run the rest of the day low in energy and more tired then usual. Fueling our body properly with nutrition and water helps us to function at our highest capacity. Prayer is not something we should skip or consider optional. Prayer fuels our mind, body and soul in a way that allows us to function at our best and to know that our every day is in God’s Hands.
- I pray, but I’m always bothered by distractions. Life is full of distractions and lots of them. Why should we think they wont creep into our prayer time. What’s the best way to deal with a wondering mind or with distractions? The first step is to stop complaining about distractions. The second step is to develop some routine. Pray at the same time each day if possible. Use something like a verse in the Bible or an icon or sacred image to help train your focus. And third simply be persistent and stay focused on God. We should ask our angels to help us stay focused! Their job is to shield us from the pestering of Satan and his devils. We can also offer our wonderings and distractions up to God as a prayer itself! He will help us!! Just keep on keeping on!
- Prayer seems to lack any connection with wants going on in my life. If this is what you are thinking welcome to the club of feeling spiritually dry and that our prayers are useless. The fact is we experience dryness in most areas of our life from time to time. Life and all our commitments need to be renewed. Sure things don’t always work as they should, and yes we can be so at odds with something or someone that any intervention seems to be futile. But consider in these dry moments that Christ was also in the desert, feeling dry and hungry; and it was here that the Holy Spirit came and ministered to Him. The Holy Spirit will purify our dryness and get us through the struggling times if we seek His help and if we work at maintaining a spiritual life! Seek and ye shall find!
- How do I start? If you’re a beginner at prayer or just renewing your prayer life you will feel awkward as you start to pray. That’s okay. In fact as you pray you may be thinking too much about “saying a prayer” that you’re not relaxing. A good place to begin is with prayers in the Book of Common Prayer. The Anglican Prayer Book is a treasure of prayers from the earliest years of Christianity to the late 20th century. Use them and enjoy them. But you can find other prayer books that have good prayers and meditations. Just reading through written prayers is a great place to start. Over time the written prayer will inspre your heart and mind and the difficulty will be gone!
So, lets begin today!