This is my contribution to the synchroblog proposed by Erin from Decompressing Faith If you would like to read other blogger’s contributions on this subject go to Erin’s post for a list of links.
If I were to describe prayer in my life in one word it would be “messy” which is somewhat of an embarrassment since in nearly every other area of my life I am organized and I do like to be organized. I like having a routine and I like having things structured. So why can’t I organize my prayer life? I think there are two reasons.
Firstly every time I manage to maintain any kind of structure, that is a list of people/situations to pray for it is not long before I start feeling like a Pharisee – proud and self-righteous – for being such a “good” Christian. This is not a good outcome! so I stop praying (at least in any organized way).
Secondly praying is scary. John Powell had this to say in his book, Happiness is an inside job, “At first none of us wants to admit it, but we are all afraid of getting too close to God. A thousand questions and doubts flood into us at the very thought of being close to God. What will God say to me? What will God ask of me? Where will God lead me? The unknown is always a little frightening. And in this case, the stakes are high. My whole life is involved …” I think this is why I find it difficult to sit still when I’m praying. (Maybe I think God will find it harder to ‘hit’ a moving target! as illogical as that is.)
More confessions: I like to pray as soon as I wake up but often fall back to sleep. My church has a prayer room and sometimes I would go there on the way home from work but I’d often fall asleep there too.
On the up side I do pray (or just talk to God) as I go about my day and I often think about God, more so when I am at home then when I am at work. I try to maintain an attitude of “looking to God”. Sometimes I use the Lord’s prayer or Jabez’s prayer or one of Paul’s prayers (eg Colossians 1:9-12) as a sort of framework. I have also determined not to feel guilty about my disorganized prayer life as I don’t think this is what God would want and guilt only makes me pray less not more.