Sunday, August 11, 2013

30 Day-30 Minute Prayer Challenge - Day 1: Feeling God's Presence

I love prayer. There are so many "ways to pray." So many beautiful, eloquent prayers in scripture. Books full of prayer, written like poetry, jumping off the pages to be heard. I know God hears all kinds of prayers - at any time - in my car, on my knees, at the dinner table, etc.

I used to think my prayers needed to be like that - eloquent and perfect. Poetry. The truth is, God hears all prayers, but the most powerful and effective ones are those that are genuine. My genuine prayers, when it's just me having a conversation with God, those are decidedly NOT poetry.  They don't need to be.

So why does my prayer life feel so limp lately? So disconnected? Summer is a hard time for me - our calendar is full, our schedules are crazy, routine goes out the window.  (It doesn't help that BSF breaks for the summer as well, meaning I lack accountability.) I think I know - my topics are rote. I don't see and talk to people as often in the summer months and so I'm praying less for others than usual. That really helps me keep a deep and vibrant prayer life - praying for others.

Perhaps my prayer life is dull because I am not seeing the fruits of my prayers as clearly as other times. Ridiculous. God IS answering my prayers, although sometimes it is "Not now" or "I have something better in mind." My "not seeing it" is my own fault - I'm often not even trying.

So that is where I will begin.  Today I will pray that I feel God's presence in my life.  That I see Him working all around me. That I listen and know His answers to me - I see them in scripture during quiet time. I will get on my knees and approach the throne with the respect it is due. I will ask that I feel His comforting arms around me and distinctly feel His love for me.

For the next 30 days I am challenging myself to 30 minutes a day of concentrated prayer.  I will still pray at the table, before bed and before school with my kids, in my car as my mind wanders, when prayer chain calls, etc. But in an effort to reconnect with God and really revamp my prayer life I am dedicating 30 minutes to talking to Him.  On my knees, not falling asleep in bed.

A different topic each day will get the bulk of the half hour - after giving thanks and confessing (although, those can be long lists!). I will pray for myself and for others. Whatever is on my heart each day.  Although there are many more than 30 things to pray about, if at any time I go blank, I will pray scripture. Open my Bible and say the words in His Word. He has given us all the tools we need to pray and assures us He hears our prayers!

At the end of 30 days? Keep it going. I've been told 30 days is all that is needed to create a lifelong habit! I'd LOVE if you joined me and tell me what you're praying for and how you are seeing God's answers in your life.

Lord, I ask that I feel You more. See you more. Know you deeper. I am grateful I can come to you with my needs and emotions. I am grateful I feel so close to you.  I look around and know You're at work in my life. It is so clear: all good things come from you, Lord.

My life is full of good - my husband, my children, my home, my friends, my faith. As I played Yahtzee with my husband and daughters after dinner (we have a home, food, and entertainment), nursed my precious baby, and watched Dean play trains I knew - God is present in my everyday moments.