Personal Spiritual Disciplines: Prayer

There are three personal spiritual disciplines that every Christian should participate in. Not necessarily daily but frequently. Those are Prayer, Worship, and Meditation (on the word of God). These are of course not the only disciplines or tenants of Christianity. That would be a much longer list including things like: the church, communion, fasting, group prayer, etc. What I'm talking about here are the primary personal spiritual disciplines. Emphasis on the personal part.

Prayer and I have always had a tense relationship. I talk to God regularly but I do not enjoy extended prayer times. When I was being mentored for the first time in these personal spiritual disciplines, my mentor and I would spend hours together praying. It was exciting at times but mostly it was very boring. Because of this my prayer life has fallen by the wayside. Just a brief "hello God" here, and "Help that person" there. During this time of dedicated blogging and discipline building I decided to make a better attempt at my prayer time.

I've prayed many different ways since I started the practice of personal prayer. I have done the classic folded hand and kneel at my bedside, I have paced and prayed scriptures over my life, I have sat and simply had a chat with God, I have sat and stared at the wall just waiting to hear from God, I have screamed in intercession, I have yelled and whispered in tongues, I have seen visions, I have prophesied, I have had the 5min "What's up God?" conversations, I have read scripted prayers, I have interpreted tongues. Of all these many methods of prayer I have had one clear flaw that seems to only now be revealed to me. I had a tendency to learn a new method of prayer and pray only that way for weeks or months. It's no surprise it got boring with that mentality. It's like when I got the new info I thought, this is it, the right way to pray, which is of course foolishness.

Only this last week as I was praying for the 10th day in the row(ish) I realized it was getting boring again and that frustrated me. I want to want to pray. I understand it's not going to be as entertaining as watching a movie, or playing a video game all the time. It's called a discipline for a reason. But come on it's not supposed to be like watching paint dry either. I realized for each of the 10 days(ish) I had stared the prayer the same way. My default is to pray in tongues and just see what happens. But this day it was just dead. So I stopped praying in tongues and just asked God what's up with this? To which the mysterious reply was simply "Maybe that's just not how you need to pray today."  [Explosion Sound inside my head.] For years I have been studying prayer trying to make it more alive in my life and this simple statement was all that was needed. That and my blog post from a few days ago on romantic relationships. The one where I said it was supposed to be different every time. It hit me in that moment that I was trying to fit my relationship with God in a box. So for a season at the least I'll be starting prayer time with a few simple questions. "How do I want to pray today?", "Lord how do you want me to pray today?"