Why is it so easy for me to go through my week and realize I’ve not prayed once unless it was for my food? In my life, I’ve had seasons where prayer was as natural as breathing and others that made me question if my prayers even mattered at all. However, I still believe prayer is powerful and my life is better when my prayer life is greater.
What is your prayer pattern? Could you write it down? My prayer pattern has been praying with my ministry team before service, praying with my family at mealtime, and praying with my kids before bed. Did you notice what was missing from my pattern? Over the last few weeks, I have had very little personal, private prayer time with God. Sure, I’ve been praying almost every day, but there has been no prayer time dedicated to deepening my relationship with God.
Even as I share with you my prayer pattern, my thoughts immediately go to the story Jesus shared in Matthew six. I find it easy to pray when others are around — maybe the truth is I’m more afraid to pray in private. When I pray on the stage or in a circle of friends, I don’t have to wait and listen for what God says back. I can say, “Amen” and we can all go on our way. Praying in private is more intimidating. What do I do with the silence? How long should I wait to hear God speaking to me?
I’ve found it helps to sit with a journal and write down my own thoughts, praying from the bottom of my heart. God has shifted the course of my life in big and small ways through speaking to me during my personal private prayer time over the years. If I want God to continue leading me, I have to carve out time in my life to get alone, get private and get silent before God.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.