Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Consistency in Prayer

I took a yoga class the other day for the first time.  I just happened to be at the right place at the right time, so I took advantage of the opportunity.  I don't know much about yoga, but I do know what I experienced was very prayerful - a way of cleansing the body, centering one's self, and focusing on the breath.  For that hour, I could clear my mind and not worry or think about anything else.  Of course, I've only done one class, so I can only imagine the benefits if done on a regular basis.

This is the same with prayer.  We can pray to God on occasion and feel good afterward, but for a relationship to deepen and grow, we need consistency.  C. S. Lewis is quoted as saying , "I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God, it changes me."  Douglas Wood has a similar quote, ""We pray because we are here - not to change the world, but to change ourselves. Because it is when we change ourselves...that the world is changed.”  When we pray, our actions and behavior change.  Over time, with the grace of God, we may find ourselves more patient, more compassionate, more accepting, and more understanding of others.

I have prayers that I say everyday, and I think some of them make God laugh.  I try to talk and listen to God as I would a friend, saying whatever is on my mind.  Every night, my last prayer is always, "Dear God, help me wake up in the morning."  (I'm not a morning person.  If I had been in charge, I would have moved the morning to the afternoon.)  Then in the morning when my alarm goes off, I pray a similar prayer, "Dear God, help me get up . . . . after I press snooze one more time."  Throughout the day, I pray, "Dear God, work through me."  I'm aware that I can do nothing on my own, nor would I want to do anything on my own. 

Being consistent in prayer isn't easy.  It certainly takes discipline and perseverance.  Having someone around to which you can offer and receive mutual encouragement is also helpful. 

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