The thing that I find most difficult to live out properly as a Christian is being prayerful. Prayer, particularly private and personal prayer, is something I really struggle to do well. I find it hard to express myself when I pray quietly and alone, I often neglect to pray for people who I have promised to pray for and I have never succeeded in my attempts to implement regular private prayer time – probably much to the disdain of all the people I have ever met who have tried to give me advice! I have known for a long time that this is an area in my life where I just have to try and be more disciplined.
And why is well-thought-out, regular, meaningful prayer an important discipline to aspire to? Up until recently I would have answered that it is just a good thing to do – prayerful people generally seem to be very mature Christians with great trust in God, people who have very good characters and bear fruit in their ministry. However I’ve realised that there is another very important reason to be intentional and disciplined in my approach to personal prayer.
At the moment I pray for things that suddenly present themselves as glaring an obvious needs: a problem that someone shares with me, someone’s sudden sickness, something that I am worried about, a flare up in international conflict. I am practically praying with the news cycle, bringing before the Lord the attention-grabbing and sexy headlines and forgetting to pray for the ongoing things that nobody talks about.
I’m pretty sure that regular and intentional times for prayer would set that straight. I mean, there is nothing wrong with praying for the things that turn up in the newspapers or on facebook or in the church announcements, but there is a lot of other stuff going on in the world, in the lives of my friends and in my own life that gets buried and forgotten under all the hype. I forget these things when I don’t set time aside to remember.
Sadly, I know that I’m still going to find it hard to alter my patterns when it comes to praying, even with such a good reason to change. Are you a praying type? Could you pray for me and check up on me to see how I’m going?