Friday, November 4, 2011

On My Knees

I’ve found it hard to pray lately.

For many different reasons. Sometimes I’m too lazy tired and I barely get a thought in before I’m drifting away. Sometimes I’m distracted. Sometimes I’m moody and don’t feel like talking to God (just keeping it real, folks!). And sometimes…I just really don’t know what to say. It’s not that I don’t have things I want, or things I’m thankful for, or others to pray for…

It just feels like it’s all been said.

Yet in the back of my mind is the advice of our dear priest-friend when I was growing up. To keep praying in the dry seasons. You can shorten it, you can simplify it, but keep praying.

(Now trust me when I say I don’t always follow this wise advice. I’ve slipped into bed with a quick thought up to heaven while I’m snuggling under those polka-dot sheets. And I’ve rushed some Bible reading in before Rachael Ray comes on in the morning on a day off. But let’s move on to the positive, shall we?!)

So one night recently, I attempted to stir up the routine a little. I turned off my light and I knelt beside my bed. There’s something about kneeling that makes it a lot harder to fall asleep while you’re praying! And I followed the ACTS acronym for prayer—just one thing per letter. It’s simple, it’s thorough, and it helps me be purposeful in connecting with the Lord.

A- Adoration. I think of a way I was in awe of His presence that day…something that reminds me of His power and greatness. A comforting reminder that His ways and thoughts are higher.

C- Contrition. In order to keep growing, I need to be real with myself and look at a way I failed to be faithful to Him and others this day. Let’s call it what it is: sin! Acknowledge it, learn from it, and be sorry for it. His grace and mercy are abundant.

T- Thanksgiving. Something from the day that warms my heart, however great or small. There’s always something to be thankful for, and gratitude amazingly improves my perspective.

S- Supplication. Who did I interact with today that needs lifted up in prayer? What’s something that's really been weighing on my mind or heart today?

That’s it. One item per category. But you know what? Once I get going, I often think of more things to tell Him about. And if I don’t—I know I’ve at least followed Father M.’s advice and that of 1 Thessalonians 5:17. God sees and knows our efforts. He is strength when we are weak. His Spirit intercedes for us when we are at a loss for words (Romans 8:26).

If you’re struggling to pray, hang in there! These things are helping me right now, but it’s not about a formula, a to-do list, or a fuzzy feeling. It’s about connecting with the God who made us, redeemed us, and makes us holy one day at a time.

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