Friday, January 4, 2013
New year, new focus
Though I doubted whether I would want to choose a focus word for 2013, I can't stop thinking about prayer and how I'd really like to improve upon my practices this year. So, Prayer it is. I admire the ability to speak a heartfelt, sincere, and humble prayer, the kind where the speaker seems to say everything they feel and desire so eloquently and, in doing so, reveals a deep connection and understanding with God. Some seem to possess this gift naturally, but I believe the remainder of us--any who desire to gain a similar ability--can train to become champion communicators with our Maker. Since there is no prayer training manual, I'm developing a version of my own. Here's what I've got so far: 1. Reserve time to train (pray) several times daily. Ideally, this would be a private, quiet, lovely, and inviting place where I could find refuge for a few minutes, somewhere I would yearn to go, but usually it's my car :). 2. Be purposeful and specific in prayer: What do I want/need? What am I repenting for and why? What am I grateful for and why? Who am I praying for and why? What is weighing me down or lifting me up? 3. Keep a journal to track prayers, answers, directions, confusions, revelations, and to record what I've learned and how my prayers are improving or could improve. I think this will be tremendously useful and cathartic. 4. Listen and meditate after prayer; try not to hurry on to other tasks immediately after praying. A definite challenge for me! 5. Focus on building a relationship with God by thinking about how I would speak to someone who loves me and who would listen to anything I have to say with interest, reserve any harsh judgement, and offer sound and caring advice for how to correct behavior or how to proceed in my life. I want that kind of relationship with God, and I believe prayer is the answer, or at least a huge part of it.