Our lives are busy. We pride ourselves on being busy, and oftentimes we don’t leave room for any margin to do the things we love or even to spend time praying for the things and people we love. “Quiet Times” are something we rush through just to mark off the list of things to do. But, if our goal as Christians is really intimacy with God, then shouldn’t prayer be something we do often?
I am reading this book called, “Draw the Circle” and it’s been life-changing. If I’m honest, I wasn’t really excited about reading it, but now I look forward to it every morning. The chapter today was on praying throughout the day, and the phrase that stood out was “turn your worries into prayers.” That stood out to me as I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety (over very stupid things) lately. As I started thinking about prayer, I realized I need to incorporate it into the daily rhythms of my life. If I only talked to my husband one time each morning, I wouldn’t feel very close to him.
Recently, Daniel and I grew pretty distant. His job is blowing up and he’s super motivated to keep the momentum going. At the same time, I’ve tried to step back from my work (like a child, kicking and screaming along the way) so that I could write more, and create margin in my life to do the things I’m most passionate about, while also being a more present mommy and wifey. We’ve been taking intentional steps to grow close again, and what I realized is, the biggest factor to intimacy is talking to one another. When we started talking again throughout the day, sharing what we learned or felt in our quiet times, sharing our excitement over jobs and opportunities, talking about how to raise our nugget, that’s when things started feeling more like “Daniel and I.” The intimacy began to come back between us when we started making intentional time for one another in the daily rhythms of life.
If our real source of life, an abundant life, is when we are abiding in Jesus (which just means staying close), then just going to church on Sundays and a quick hail mary prayer in the morning just isn’t going to cut it.
Cut it out. What is one thing you can cut out of your day so that you can pray in replacement? Daniel often gives up listening to Bloomberg in order to make time to pray in the car. Now this isn’t easy for him, because for some crazy reason, he really likes that show (beats me?). I’ve started delaying my workout in order to spend more time prayer journaling in the mornings. My day is much better when I intentionally make time for this. I even don’t let myself watch my next bing show on the elliptical until I’ve read a chapter in my devotional book.
Pray with your kids. This sounds super simple, but honestly, I’ve never thought much about it. We’ve started being more intentional about praying with Kennedy. A friend mentioned this to me and now I do it every day: pray with Kennedy in the car on the way to school! I tell her it makes our day better when we pray for it. Pray for their friends and their teachers. Pray before they go to bed, where the last thing they hear is Scripture over them. I think simple little things like this each day teach our kids that we can pray anytime, anywhere, and about anything!
Turn your worries into prayers. I loved this line from the book, and I’m the worst at this. Instead of turning my worries into prayers I just worry, agonize over it, and talk to everyone about it before I go to the Lord with it in prayer. I’m going to start being more intentional about this: every time I feel anxious about something or feel worried, I’m going to stop and pray (or maybe after I realize on my third conversation with a friend about it and I haven’t prayed, THEN I’ll stop and pray). When I do actually do this, it changes everything. Pray before your big meeting. Pray over that bill hanging over your head. Pray for that person at work that’s ruining your world (or at least you feel like you want to punch him/her at least once every day). Pray that your kid will catch on to potty training easily. Pray for those five extra pounds. Whatever it is that’s bothering you, stop and pray about it.
Pray for people. Now this seems like a no-brainer, but honestly, how often do we stop and pray FOR someone, not about them. Pray for the people in your big meeting. Pray for each of them, their lives, their families, etc. Pray for the person that bothers you the most or that is weighing heavy on your heart, not that they will change, but just pray FOR them, and all that’s going on in their hearts and lives. Pray for the person behind you at the grocery store. Pray for a different friend every week. Maybe decide that every day on your way to bunko or disciple group you’re going to pray for each person in the group. The point is, intentional time praying FOR people. It will not only be life-giving for the person you’re praying for, it will change your heart for people.
Now I know a lot of this seems super simple, or even like, duh, Carol. But to be honest, my life is such a crazy mess that I needed the reminder. I needed to remember that staying close to Jesus is the only way I truly feel alive, and in order to do that I need to make time in my daily rhythms of life to do that. I needed to talk to God throughout the day, just like I do my husband, in order to feel that intimacy I long for. God cares about what you care about, even for things you feel stupid praying about. That gives me a lot of peace, and you’ll be surprised at how He answers those prayers, and also draws you closer to Him.