One of the biggest struggles Christians face is prayer time. Of course, this is only my opinion, but based on my experiences and conversations with friends — prayer feels awkward. We stumble over words, tripping out statements that feel forced. While most Christian leaders encourage you to simply “talk” to God, have a conversation the way you would with a friend, that’s easier said than done.
Honestly, in developing my own personal relationship with Jesus, prayer time was, without question, the hardest thing for me to do. I WANTED to pray. Desperately wanted to have that kind of communication system with my Savior and Heavenly Father! However, I felt awkward praying, like my words weren’t good enough. Moreover, I feared my prayers were nothing more than a checklist of wishes and wants… that even those would become scripted… and as I shared in my personal testimony, I wanted my prayers to be prayed TO God, not AT Him. And there’s a huge difference!
I wanted to pray without ceasing.
I wanted to praise God for His greatness.
I wanted to thank Him for His blessings.
And yes, I wanted to take my prayer requests to God, without feeling like I was telling God what to do.
I have finally learned to pray and it’s a skill I will continue to learn and perfect for the rest of my life. I simply had to make my prayers 3D.
We all know what three dimensional (or 3D) is… Something that has length, breadth, and depth. Most of us tend to associate 3D with the movies, where we pay double the ticket price to see an optical illusion on the screen… And as I passed a movie theatre, I wondered, why can’t our prayers be 3D?
We have the ability to give our prayers length, breadth, and depth. Here’s how:
LENGTH: Pray without ceasing.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Prayers that never stop feels a bit impossible at times, but it’s really not that hard. When Paul wrote this verse, what he was essentially saying is “Don’t put God on the shelf after you finish your daily worship.” He was encouraging us to let God be a part of our daily lives, even the things we consider to be too mundane for God to care about… Remember, Luke 12:7 tells us that God knows the number of hairs on your head, so of course it’s okay to pray to Him before a big meeting!
God wants to be so much more to us if we’ll let Him… He wants to be our best friend, our confidant, our source for joy and comfort. When we stop limiting prayers to a morning or evening ritual, that emotional and spiritual closeness that God wants us to have with Him will happen!
One of the ways I overcame this challenge of prayer without ceasing was to change my passwords. My iPhone, iPad, computer, even software programs I use — I’ve changed my passwords to be relevant prayer prompts. Every time I log in to a device or program, I have a personal reminder to offer up a prayer to God… I may use that prayer prompt to thank Him for a great day, or I may use it to ask God to help me through a difficult situation. Whatever it is, I use these small nuggets of time to pray without ceasing. I have found that the more I involve God with the random moments in my day, the more often I think to pray without even needing my password reminder.
I also created a prayer list. Initially, it was a list at the back of my prayer journal, but I found an app that is designed to offer prayer prompts. I have certain things I pray for daily and this app sends me a reminder at a certain time to stop what I’m doing, and pray. Moreover, at the end of the day, I can open the app and click “Pray Now.” My list of prayers are never in order — forcing me to go through each prayer in a new way. The people and situations I pray for through this app can’t be forced into a script this way, which honestly, is one of my favorite things about the app. The app is called Echo and it’s free on iTunes. You can even mark prayers as answered! What a great way to go back and reflect on the good God does in your life!