in Prayer

Making Time for Prayer

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I remember learning to pray daily in college. At that time I was convinced I was the busiest person on the face of the planet. How could I possibly add prayer to my already maxed out schedule? I talked to God in bits and pieces throughout the day, wasn’t that enough?

When talking to a spiritual mentor about this, her response to me was the following: “Imagine having a relationship with your boyfriend where you never actually sit down and have a real conversation, you just communicate by short little text messages here and there. What would the quality of your relationship be?” While that metaphor really spoke to me at the time, it means even more to me now that I am married. What if my husband and I didn’t do our nightly debriefs? What if we just texted four or five times a day? What kind of relationship would we have? I can think to points in our marriage where our communication level declined and the tenor of our marriage went right down with it.

The same thing is true of our relationship with God. It is beautiful when we talk to God in little moments throughout the day. But as we know with any friend or partner, if we want to truly grow a life-giving relationship, we have to dedicate set-aside time every day to conversation. It is amazing the transformation that occurred in my own relationship with Jesus once I started making time for this daily conversation. It has been challenging making time for prayer since becoming a mother, but it has always been worth it. The quality of my relationship with God is so much greater when I am taking time every day to sit down and converse with him, even if just for the length of my first cup of coffee.

So how do we do this? First, I would recommend deciding what time of day would allow you to be most present. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you have a lunch break that you could use or the kids’ naptime? Once you figure that out, I recommend putting it in your planner. Whatever you use for all your other daily appointments and tasks, add it there so you see it right away and can make sure to hold space for it. You will likely have to make some sacrifices to fit it in—getting up a little earlier or replacing another leisure activity. Finally, how much time? If you are not in the habit of praying every day, start with 5 minutes of dedicated, scheduled conversation with God and increase by 5 minutes a week until you hit your max capability. Typically, 30 minutes at a time is the sweet spot for most adults.

It will take time to develop this habit. Luckily we have the entire season of Lent! So your challenge for this week is to schedule in at least 5 minutes of daily, set aside, dedicated conversation with God. And remember, if you ever need help developing this habit, our staff is more than willing to help! Please do not hesitate to reach out to any one of us.

in Prayer

In the Stillness

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The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting the mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and the after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken the covenant. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 1Kings 19:11-14

So often we are compelled to look for God in the “big” things of life. This reading reminds us that God actually dwells in the small things. His presence, unnoticed, unless we are intentional about noticing it – slowing down, turning off the noise. No grand gestures. No displays of divine magnitude. God doesn’t work that way at least not since Jesus. He comes in the stillness. In the silence. Humbly. He comes through prayer. It is not by accident that we are called to focus on prayer always but especially during Lent. As a school community, we are going to be slowing down our pace on purpose to engage the school in deep prayer each morning. We are purposefully using visualization exercises to connect each individual to Jesus in prayer. We hope that the practice will become habit. God lives in the stillness that prayer provides. Additionally, Elijah remains connected to God despite those around him falling away. Turning to God makes one feel less alone. Prayer is a balm for whatever ails us. God is there.

Praying Together

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When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them… when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.” 

Like some of you, I have long held prayer as a private thing, to do by myself. Even Jesus goes off to pray by himself.   

That is not what Jesus is saying in this passage. This passage is a reminder that we should not be going through the motions with our faith. Being superficial is what Jesus means by “so that others may see them.”   

We are not excused from praying or sharing our faith in public. We are called to be authentic in our relationship with Christ. Christ didn’t shy away from performing miracles or even praying with others, and neither should we.

I cannot tell you how many times I have shared with someone something I have been struggling with, just to receive an anti-climactic “I’ll pray for you.” I was challenged three years ago to pray intentionally with others. I have seen the change it has made in my relationships. It can change your relationships too. 

Tags: prayer

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