How I Stopped Giving Excuses for Not Praying

Call it a gently nudging from the Holy Spirit, but I’ve really felt pushed to improve my prayer life, which is nearly…nonexistent. I am not an active pray-er. But I know that is an essential component in growing in relationship with my Creator. So I was thinking about this in my car on the morning commute and decided, “Why not now?”

Thus, it began. “Bless so-and-so, and bless la-tee-dah,” but I stopped and had this internal conversation:

“You know, praying for these vague things feels stupid. I wouldn’t talk to a friend like this.

Well, what does God want to hear from you? He wants me to be real. He wants me to praise His power, but also ask for big things.”

Then: “He wants me to take an active role. He wants me to go outside my comfort zone. He wants me to ask for opportunities to be His messenger today. He wants me to be challenged.”

Seriously. Why do I even start praying? I kind of had my own self-pity party about the whole “challenge yourself” message (all the Doane grads will understand my eye-roll over this phrase), but I also had a huge feeling of empowerment to do.God’s.work. ‘Cause that’s really why He put me here. So get over yourself, Kristin and start thinking about somebody else.

But you know how those experiences go, right? Excitement!! followed by fizzle…I quickly started thinking about all the things I had to accomplish (project at work, dinner plan). So I wasn’t any further in furthering my prayer life.

But I’m a pragmatist – and I couldn’t let it go. So I brainstormed strategies on how to make praying an easier part of my day. I remembered a blog I read about a woman who prays while folding laundry – talking to God with requests for each individual as she folds their particular clothes. It’s a good idea, but I’ve yet to actually do it because I never think of it.

I wanted something very visual, something I have to literally stare at every day.

And then it hit me: a prayer wall. I needed a dry erase board, or bulletin board, or something where I could write prayers, see them, and quickly talk to God. But I needed some ideas on how this might look. As any resourceful woman would, naturally, I went to Pinterest. And y’all. I was not disappointed. If you want to find where Christian women unite, look no further. After brief searching, I came across the perfect set-up: clothespins on a board. You write the prayer on an index card, clip it up on your clothespin, and take it down when it’s finished.

Galatians 5:22 “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and craftiness.”

Ok, not actually craftiness.

I want to be crafty. Lots of times I try to be crafty. Sometimes it turns out ok. Most times it’s just…bad. Bad, bad, bad. So I went to Hobby Lobby and Michael’s to find the signs I wanted for this little prayer homage. And then I had to get a bit crafty by adding the twine and clothespins to one of the signs. And after getting my strong, manly husband (marriage perk!) to put two nails in the wall above the bed, I had myself a visual prayer board.

But the work was just getting started. Now I had to start the prayer writing. I grabbed a few index cards and wrote down every single thing I knew I wanted to pray about. I quickly ran out of note cards, so this Type A started over by categorizing the note cards and adding bullet points (I know. I’m sick.) of several prayers to each one. Then came the hardest part: talking to God about them. So I sat on the bed and started talking, using the index cards as my guide. I prayed really specific things for my husband, son, and me. I prayed for our church leaders. I prayed for my pregnant friends (there are so many of you right now!). I prayed specific things for my co-workers and their families. I prayed for our country.

It was emotional. It was tiring. It was hard to keep going. It was powerful. It was calming. I felt like God had control (that’s new! HA!).

I definitely don’t pray the pray board everyday (something I seriously need to prioritize). But I will peek at it while getting dressed in the morning and say a quick prayer over whichever bullet caught my eye. The board has given me focus in a day where I might feel frazzled over the million thoughts trickling through my brain. Selfishly, the board makes me feel like God is a teeny bit proud of me for coming up with this obviously fantastic idea (I realize I’m kinda missing the mark). I’ll probably feel that way for a while, but at least it has allowed me to consider moving past the inauthentic “bless them” prayers. And more important, it’s stopped me from giving an excuse for not praying and to start getting real with God.

Need help making a prayer board? Meet me at the local craft store with $25. And get your index cards ready.

How do you pray? What’s your strategy? HELP ME!! Please share in the comments!

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