22 September 2014

Refocusing my Prayer Life

The beginning of the school year tends to be one of my favorite times to evaluate my routines, tossing out the ones that don't work so well, re-establishing the ones that do, and generally tweaking my life to be ready for the year ahead.

I guess you could call it my New Year's resolution season.  I know for normal people that comes in January, but by then I feel like I had better be in a good working system or the whole first semester might be a disaster

This fall, which feels suspiciously like a hot northwest July to me, my schedule has filled out nicely, and while I'm loving my growing family of piano students, I needed to refine how I do mornings.  

In particular I wanted to find a way to make sure my morning devotional time would neither be too delayed (as I rush around to help my husband get out the door) or rushed (as I realize what time it is after I've gotten him out the door).

My prayer time especially took the brunt of the rushing-through-this-so-I-could-move-on.

For years, I wrote my prayers down in a prayer journal.  I've gotten away from that, partly because it takes so much time to get through everything I'd like to say, and partly because it started to feel strange to have such intimate, just-between-me-and-Jesus thoughts written out on paper, where someone could find them and read them sometime.

This fall as I evaluated why I was so often trying to make such an important part of my day go by as quickly as possible, I knew journaling wasn't the answer, so as I thought and prayed about it, I made myself a couple of new rules to slow myself down and drink in more of the blessings of an active prayer life.

Rule 1:  Fold my hands, close my eyes, and actually pray on my knees.

I understand that God hears and answers prayer no matter where we are, and no matter what position we choose.  However, I too often found an excuse to pray while I was doing some kind of chore, and my brain refused to focus on either the chore or the praying in a meaningful way.  So I've been getting back to early childhood, forcing myself to still, and praying the old fashioned way.

And you know what?

It has helped tremendously.  Closed eyes don't notice the stack of paperwork on the table.  Folded hands don't itch to start putting seedlings in new pots.  Bended knees don't trot over to the kitchen sink to take care of a few dishes.

In the focused quiet, my soul finds more rest in God, greater peace in trusting to Him the things on my heart.

Rule 2:  If I'm not on my knees, I am allowed to pray while I go for a walk in the fresh air.

My husband does this on a regular basis.  He'll go for an extra long walk sometimes, just taking the time to breathe the fresh air and talk to the Lord about everything.  I'm learning to follow that example.

That fifty-minute walking route proves a great chunk of time to talk to Jesus more in depth about things.  Seeing flowers blooming, hearing birds singing, and soaking in the sunlight remind me how He's in control of everything, and how I can trust Him with the things on my heart.

What are your favorite ways to focus your prayer life?

1 comment:

  1. Great to see you posting! I think you have some great ideas. I also enjoy the walking and praying. I may not spend the whole time praying - but the quiet time - is good time because it gives God a chance to talk to me too.
    God bless~ Lisa :O)


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