Prayer is first and foremost conversation with God. Communication with God is
essential to us as the air that we breathe. Like tennis, prayer takes practice to become
accomplished. Spiritual guides and sages, pastors and other church members are filled with advice and counsel. Here's some of that wisdom condensed into 10 tips about prayer:
You are worthy.
Do not feel guilty about the quality of your prayer life, or fall victim to doubts and
despair about your worthiness to talk to God. Each of us has a spiritual gift or prayer.
The more you pray, the richer your prayers become.
Like anything in life, to become good at prayer you must be disciplined. Just as running is an exercise in physical fitness, prayer is a spiritual discipline.
Prayer is active.
Prayer involves action; namely being attentive to God's voice in your life. Listening for God means stopping and sitting still. It means paying attention to what God may be saying to you at any point in your life.
Prayer should not be an afterthought.
Prayer was the backbone of Jesus' ministry. Often, he broke away from his disciples to spend time with God. In the same way, prayer is essential to individual lives and to the life of the church. Break away from your daily routine for quiet time in prayer.
God doesn't require eloquence.
Don’t worry if you fumble for words when you pray. God is not looking for Toastmaster's graduates, but sincerity (not that you can't have both at once). If the words won't come, God still knows what's in your heart. Lift up that desire.
Prayer need not involve words.
The great Christian saints all write of prayer as a time of sitting quietly with God. Jesus even went off for 40 days of prayerful solitude. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Follow the breath as it flows in and out of your body. Think of it as the Spirit of God breathing life into you.
Prayer is a time for conversation with a friend: God.
Whether you see that friend routinely or just every once in awhile, know that whenever you turn to God, you're turning to someone who loves you.
Ask God for help if you get stuck.
Maybe you've hit a dry spell. There's no shame in asking God to guide you to pray in a new way.
The three Ls of prayer: Listen, listen, listen.
Listening for God is central to prayer, according to the great saints. It's so critical that St. Benedict began his famous Rule with this command for monks: "Listen with the ear of your heart."
And remember, prayer can happen anywhere --
it doesn't have to always take place in church. **
On Line Resources
Many of these sites will send you a daily devotional when you sign up on their site with your email address.
Explore Faith— www.explorefaith.org/prayer/ A site that has guided prayer through words, music, art and spiritual images. An excellent place for spiritual nourishment.
Sacred Space—www.sacredspace.ie Guided daily prayer. A wonderful spot on the Internet to take a break during your workday. This site also sells very inexpensive seasonal devotional books you can purchase from their web site. Their Lent devotional is really good.
Painted Prayerbook by Jan Richardson—www.paintedprayerbook.com This site is good for those who like to meditate on images while they pray. Painted Prayerbook is an especially great resource for Lenten prayer.
The Center for Action and Contemplation—www.cacradicalgrace.org Richard Rohr, one of Pastor Andy’s favorite authors and a favorite of many clergy, is the leader of the CAC. Their daily devotional is inspirational.
Pray As You Go—www.prayasyougo.org This site has daily prayer you can download as MP3 or WMA files. There are also breathing and centering exercises to help you
prepare yourself for quiet time with God and an 8-minute guided prayer to use at the end of the day.
Please contact any of the Holy Covenant pastors for additional guidance
about prayer or for more resources.
**excerpted from 10 Ways to Improve Your Prayer Life by
Susan Hogan, UMNS 2009