28 February 2008

Spending an hour in prayer

Have you ever tried devoting an hour to prayer? Many people I know would blanch at the thought. For that reason if for no other, it makes an excellent Lenten discipline—and the hour goes by more quickly than you might ever imagine. Here are some tips I have found helpful:

Be yourself. Don’t think you have to pray with the eloquence of the Book of Common Prayer. Talk with God like you’d talk with your best friend.

Get comfortable. The stiffer you feel, the more formal your relationship will be. Sitting is fine. If kneeling helps, do it. You might want to take an hour’s walk as you talk with your Friend.

Try praying out loud, though not loud enough to disturb others. Being able to hear yourself pray really helps. You’ll find that your mind doesn’t wander as easily and that you can pray more fervently.

Don’t feel you have to do all the talking. Discuss something with the Lord, then be silent for a time. Sometimes God uses these times of listening to implant his answers in our minds. Gradually you’ll find that prayer can be a conversation.

Don’t worry about sticking to a schedule, or even keeping to the times suggested here. It’s only to get you started, to help you believe you actually can spend sixty minutes in prayer. You’ll find God will guide you in your prayer time. Its not a program, it’s a growing relationship.

Now, go for it. Before you put this down, set a time when you will spend an hour with him. You can’t learn to pray from reading any more than you can learn to swim from a textbook. It’s time to get into the water.

This is an adaptation of a document you can find here. You can find another helpful resource here.

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