So, there are so many different ways to approach prayer and I really think it is one of the harder things to do in the Christian walk. I’ve always prayed a lot to God but I didn’t really think about how I was doing it. Then, I had an assignment in my Christian Thought (Theology class) at college and the point of the assignment was to grow in one area, focus on it for a week, write about it, and continue to grow in that area. I feel like it is a good description of prayer… so I’ll just post my assignment. I feel like it will help you understand prayer more because it certainly helped me to deepen what I feel is an already strong relationship with God. The point is that you can never grow in God enough and I know that I just want to know God more and more. I want to know him more, I want to see his face, and I want him to be the most important part of all of me. Anyways, read on…
“I chose the area of prayer because I knew that this was something that I could definitely improve in. When I read this assignment for the very first time the Lord convicted me and I realized that I needed to improve how I pray. Honestly, I can pray well when I’m in a group but I find it quite a bit harder to pray when I am alone. When I understood that was the direction that God was pushing me in I wasn’t very surprised and I decided to obey his instructions to improve this area of my spiritual life.
The way I chose to respond to this assignment was in meekness and I started it with prayer of course! I decided that I was going to let God work whatever he wanted in my life that week and that I would make time for whatever God wanted me to do to bring about improvement in this area. I understood that I couldn’t do any of this on my own and I was only going to become closer to God in prayer if I let him teach me. I also decided that I would pray for 10 minutes at least once every day. One of my goals for the week was that I was going to pray before I got into a mode of desperation. In the chapter, it pointed out that a lot of times we associate praying with desperation, and an example of that was the Hail Mary. The Hail Mary is a desperate heave to the end zone in hopes that a miracle should happen; therefore, I vowed to pray before I got to that point. That’s how I wanted to respond to this challenge.
On the first day of the week, Monday, I decided to start my prayer out by just listening to God for two minutes and not saying anything. To tell the truth, I really didn’t hear anything from God for those first few minutes and so I moved on in the prayer. For the next few minutes or so I thanked God for all the blessings he has given me. My family, my friends, the fact that I can attend this great university and countless other things I have been blessed with. After that, I brought my prayer requests to God and explained to him what was on my heart. One of the specific ones was my grandmother because she had been admitted into the hospital because of severe dehydration the night before. I was very nervous because she is eighty years old and my mother said that she was pretty out of it that night. I prayed to God and asked him to heal her and make it so she could go back home. My grandpa was also harvesting apples so it was a prayer for him that he would be able to focus on the harvest and not worry about my grandma. I spent just a few minutes basking in the reassurance I felt that everything would be okay. Those are the moments where you don’t do anything at all and you just have to remember that he is God. He has control over everything and will put everything in its right place. So while it was a rough beginning I felt like the prayer time ended really well.
On Tuesday, I decided to do it a different way and started out with my prayer requests. When my mom had talked to me earlier in the day it sounded like my grandma was doing a little better, but she still couldn’t walk around and was still feeling dehydrated. At this point, I felt like she was definitely doing better but I decided I would just pray for her that day and nothing else. The combination of praying on both Monday and Tuesday just really made me peaceful about the whole situation. If I hadn’t set this time to pray aside for this project I know that I would’ve felt a lot more stressed out but with the time I spent in prayer it brought about in me much more trust in God’s plan.
With the last prayer session in mind, on Wednesday my goal was to really be able to listen to God speak to me during prayer. So once again, I started my prayer time just not saying anything and keeping my ears completely open to whatever God was trying to tell me. Thankfully, it went a lot better than it did on Monday! This time when I was listening God told me that I needed to continue to seek him and pursue him. I feel like I do a pretty good job of learning more about God and following him but I will admit that my fire for him was dying a little. I was just losing motivation to pursue him with all my heart and during that prayer I was convicted to surrender all of myself to him again. Not just parts of me, but all of me. This really taught me that prayer isn’t just about part of me or part of my struggles… prayer is about all of me. God cares about all my struggles and wants me to bring them to him. I needed to step out of the boat before I could walk on the water. Because of this, I have stopped holding things back from God and I have given them all to him.
On Thursday, I continued to pray to God not only about my prayer requests and my praises, but for him to change me from the inside out. That was probably the biggest thing that impacted my life from this whole exercise. It taught me that I can and should pray for God to continue to change me every day. I have always been the one striving to change myself but after this exercise I have realized that God can do that as well. Yes, I should be striving after him and changing my character to be more like him but I can’t do it all on my own. I need God to change me and I need to pray for him to do it for me on a daily basis.
Friday was a great day because I did my prayer time after I had finished school so I was much more relaxed. I was thanking God for the health that he gave my grandmother as she was able to go back home the night before. In addition, I was showing gratitude to God for helping me survive another week of school. I find that Fridays have next to no prayer requests and quite a few praises. God must like Fridays!!!
After doing this exercise for a week, I really felt like I learned a lot about prayer. I had never had a time where I singularly focused on prayer and after this time I knew that is was a great benefit for me. I learned that God will give you peace through prayer, that if I give everything that I am to God through prayer than I am not hampering God’s help, and I realized that I needed to keep praying for God to change me from the inside out. Also, I prayed before the times of desperation and it felt so good to do that. I know that I will keep all the lessons I learned in this exercise close to my heart.”