Growing in Prayer
My prayer life can often be described as pathetic. I am a weak person. It is evident in my lack of will-power. As I strive to reign in the edges of my life and force them into submission, I fail.
I reach for the potato chips when there is a cucumber in the fridge. I drive through Starbucks instead of stopping to help the man on the side of the road, holding a cardboard sign. I make a snarky comment when I should reach out in forgiveness. I fall asleep when I pray in bed, apparently the only time I have to set aside for communication with the Creator of the universe.
When I was a child, I was so afraid of losing my faith. I’d lay in my room as night reading the Bible until my eyelids dropped heavily and I could keep them up no longer. I wanted to do what the disciples in the garden could not and prove that I deserved the mercy and love shown at the cross.
But I failed at that too.
Lent reminds me of my strivings as a girl. Visions of piety and faith are conjured up in my head every “Fat Tuesday.” I strive to do good, seek justice, and show mercy. But most of all, I still strive for God’s love. I am thankful that Lent reminds me yet again, that I have failed. I cannot and never will deserve God’s love.
Yet, here it is, lavished upon me.
I see it in the puppy that eagerly drops the tennis ball on my lap while I write. I see it in the women at the beach, giving me her clementines. I see it in the family that cries and cheers with me through every up and down of my life. But during Lent, I see it most clearly as I fix my eyes towards Calvary and walk the road.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41, ESV
My flesh is weak. That much is plain in the sight of all. But this season of renewal and repentance calls us to look at the season and to remind ourselves of the tools we have been given.
Prayer is one of those tools. So we pray.
Where do we start in prayer?
A few years ago, I was asking this very question. I wanted to grow deeper in my prayer life, but often, my prayers sounded eerily familiar to the child in the grocery store, begging his mother for candy.
While I know God looks upon me as an adoring Father, I wanted to show Him the respect befitting the Creator of the universe. So I start reading the prayers of others.
There are prayers Christians have read for two thousand years. There are guidelines for practicing balancing a prayer life.
I am not quite comfortable (yet) sharing what specific prayer practices I have decided to practice this Lent, but I am stretching myself and disciplining my body and mind in a new way. I am looking to God and to other believers to shape my thoughts and, as always, am praying that the Spirit will intercede on my behalf when I simply cannot pray as I ought.
As you walk into this Lent I leave you with a few resource that I have been blessed by:
If you are intrigued by the idea of reading “scripted” prayers, I encourage you to consider this article by Tish Harrison Warren and would love to chat more with you about the topic.
Praying with Protestant Prayer Beads
Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers
Prayer and Scripture Reading for Morning, Noon, and Night – Audible and Readable
This free printable is also available in the Thin Place Resource Library to help shape your Lent:
Spiritual Disciplines Aren't Optional, They're Medicinal - The Thin Place
[…] I’m with a group of friends, the work seems light and easy. When it comes to reading my Bible, praying, and fasting, my task mode, required mode, often kicks in and I simply feel […]
Michael Thorne Jarrett
I was scrolling through recent referrals to my prayer site and yours came up. Love what you’re doing here and your vulnerability on the journey. Thanks for thinking enough of what we’re doing at thetrinitymission.org to link to us. That really means a lot. Many blessings in Christ to you. -michael
BaileyMichael Thorne Jarrett
Michael, I’m so grateful for your work. Thank you for stopping by.
Pray Like Hannah and Give It to God - The Thin Place
[…] For more thoughts on prayer, check out this post. […]