Posts Tagged With: study

Lessons From A Prayer failure

 

Today I sat down to pray. My prayer started off something like this, “Dear Lord, I thank you for the opportunity to come into you presence again today… Did I get that load of laundry started yet today? (No, no! Back to business!) As I was saying, I am in awe that You called me to Yourself and that I get to call you Father…  I really need to get this floor vacuumed. (No, no!)

Does this ever happen to you or am I the only Christian who has a problem with my mind drifting during prayer? Why is it so hard to focus when we pray?

While I have not found any great way to quit daydreaming, there are a few ways I’ve found to focus my mind better during prayer. In fact the reason I’m writing this today is because I need to be reminded of them myself.

The first and most simple way is to vocalize your prayers. I’m not saying that you have to shout them from your roof top or even say them loud enough another person could hear you, but simply moving your lips can help keep your mind focused. Even the amount of energy you will spend putting your thoughts into words and sentences will often be enough to discipline your mind and keep it from drifting.

One of my favorite things to do is to pray over the Scriptures. That means that you are connecting your prayers to your Bible reading. There are a lot of great strategies out there like the One Year Bibles. Just find whatever works for you but always read it slowly and carefully. The truths you will encounter could very well be the basis of reflective praying. You can also do this with some of the better hymns. I have prayed over “It Is Well” thousands of times. (Please know that hymns are NOT a replacement for the Scriptures but can be helpful in prayer life).

Another variation of this is to look through the Scriptures to find verses that support your prayers then pray those Scriptures back to the Lord. When I was petitioning the Lord for my youngest son, I remember praying a prayer that went something like this, “Lord, we desperately want another child. Your Word tells us that Sara, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, and several other women were barren. Yet, you opened their womb and gave them children.” Then I would read the Scriptures that told the story of each of these women and end with asking Him to add me to the list with these ladies.

Something else that may be helpful, and my husband uses regularly, is to develop a prayer list. It can be quite difficult and daunting to pray faithfully for a large number of people and concerns without some sort of prayer list. Our church puts out a prayer list weekly as many churches do. This can be a great beginning place but certainly you will want to add to it other people and concerns of our own acquaintance. This is sure to be updated weekly as your church’s prayer list is updated.

Another excellent discipline in praying is to enlist a prayer-partner. That is someone that you meet with regularly, say once a week, go over prayer concerns together and then pray together. This will most likely prove to be a very intimate time with you and the other person. And intimacy in one area can very easily lead to intimacy in another area. So always make sure that if your prayer-partner is not your spouse, that it is someone of the same sex.

I have been fortunate in the way that I have been able to be pray-partners with a couple different ladies in my life. The first was when I was a freshman in college. Another young lady, who was a senior, invited me to pray with her. This quickly became a weekly meeting and continued on through the rest of the semester. I learned much more from her discipleship than words can express. We still remain very close friends today.

Prayer can be hard and frustrating. Still, a wandering mind is no excuse to not do it. How are we to have a relationship with the Lord if we never communicate with Him? I do hope that I am the only Christian that has a problem with a drifting mind, but I really don’t believe that I am. I have practiced each of these methods at different times and they each been of great help. I do pray that they will be of some help to you too.

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Ladies, Ask For What You Need

 

I have decided that time spent in Scripture everyday is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

When I was a new mother I just could not seem to find the time to fit it in. Between changing diapers, wiping noses, cleaning up the spilled milk, painting over the crayon on the wall, fixing meals, folding  laundry, and washing dishes, washing dishes, washing dishes (we didn’t have a dish washer at that time and they never seemed to stop), all my time seemed to be occupied. At the end of the day I was simply worn out. But the worst thing was that I was starving spiritually and I knew it.

My husband, on the other hand, grew a lot during this time. He would get off work and tell me he needed to study. He would go in our room, shut the door, and be in there for nearly an hour.  All the while I was screaming inside, “When do I get to study?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy he got to study. I’m thankful he was growing so much and I got to serve him in this way. Yet, I craved that time alone with the Lord too.

Ladies, here is my point, it is not wrong or selfish to ask for what you need. I don’t think my husband realized I was not getting time with the Lord daily. I don’t think he knew that I was starving because I never told him. Our husbands do not always know of every single thing that we need, especially when we act like everything is fine. If I would have asked him to please keep the children for me so I could have half an hour to study the Scriptures, I’m fairly confident he would have gladly done it. He wants a Godly wife and a Godly mother for his children. He wants me to grow and mature as well.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”  –Ephesians 5:25-30

Of course my husband loves and cherishes me. Of course my husband loves me as Christ loves the church.  Of course he wants me to be nourished.  He would not have entered into marriage with me if he did not. So why on Earth do we think it’s selfish to let them know what we need?

I know you may be thinking, “But how does he not know I need________?”  Or “Why doesn’t he realize I need ________? I have dropped so many hints!” Ladies, I do not profess to know much about men but one thing I have learned is for the most part, men can be quite oblivious to our needs (I’m trying to be nice here). “Doesn’t he know that I need to go to the bathroom without a little person watching? Doesn’t he know that I need to take a walk by myself once in a while? I need that time alone. I need that peace and quiet!” The answer is that he probably doesn’t know. You seem okay with it so why should it bother him? If you need this time alone, tell him!

Think about it ladies, men are called to be head of the household (Eph 5:23). That means it is their responsibility to provide for the home, you and your children. That means that all decisions are ultimately his responsibility. That is no small task! If he makes a wrong decision for the family, it’s his fault. If he makes a wrong move at work and loses his job, what is he going to do? How is he going to provide for you and the children? To be quite frank, I’m glad it’s not my responsibility!

 But it does make sense that they have enough going on, plenty on their plates that they may not be quite in tune to our needs, even if we do drop very good hints. He loves you. He chose to marry you because he wants to spend the rest of his life with you. You!  Not your sister. Not your best friend. Not his next door neighbor or even the girl he had a crush on in High School. But he chose you. He loves you.  He wants what is best for you. And he wants to know your needs too!

 

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