Like my father, I find consistent prayer to be difficult, probably more so because I have a difficult time keeping a regular quiet time. I try to justify this by saying I have a more casual constant communication thing going with God, which typically takes the form of me making an aside request when I think about it, or apologizing for something I said that was naughty or blasphemous.
The one thing that has been helpful in developing persistent prayer is my life group. While I don’t tend to be the type that actually speaks up during prayer (I know big shocker right), I do try to take in everything that has been going on with everybody throughout the past week and to lift them up in prayer. It provides a context to ask how things have been going in the past week, and to talk about any changes. It’s also a comfortable forum to keep asking for prayer since you kind of have a shorthand with those in the group.
And you can refine prayers in this fashion as my dad talked about. Prayers about your happiness at your job can involve in specific requests for positions, or prayers for better interpersonal relationships, or even just prayers of more relief and peace at home.
This certainly isn’t constant. It’s once a week, except on holidays and mostly not in the summer, but it’s better than nothing. And since we’ve been hosting lately we’ve actually been doing the whole showing up thing which is so critical to any enterprise.
I think we all have the praying for ourselves thing down decently well, even it just takes the form of requests for health or luck or whatever. And we probably include our spouses in that list, but it can sometimes be difficult to pray for others. Being an only child I tend to see the world in constant relation to myself and my own perspectives. It can be difficult to take in the problems of others, but I find that when I do I feel much better than when I’m just focused inward. And again, the life group provides a context for doing just that, with people you’re familiar with and care about.
I think specificity in prayer isn’t a bad thing. Praying for “God’s will” can be helpful, but it can be a little difficult to determine if that prayer has been answered or not. Praying that an upcoming meeting goes well, or that you have a safe trip to your relatives, or that you really enjoy a sandwich are all good prayers.
What’s been going on in your life that needs persistent prayer? Do you feel God has been listening or are you getting more of a meh vibe?