Prayer can be hard business. Whether it’s those mumbled words over a meal in public or the heartfelt cries from an ER waiting room, our prayer lives reveal so much about our relationship with God. But often prayer gets lost in the jumble of life—we get busy, lazy, or distracted. So if you’re stalled out and need to jumpstart your own dialogue with Jesus, here are some tips to enliven your prayer life (even if you’re not much of a pray-er).
If You're a Reader
1. Change your perspective. One of the best ways to change your own perspective is to see someone else’s. Dive into Patricia Raybon’s I Told the Mountain to Move, a memoir chronicling Patricia’s life-changing hurdles that brought her to the brink and forced her to her knees. “God seemed a great and distant emptiness, saying nothing, doing nothing, mocking and empty and not there,” she writes. Have you ever felt like your prayers were just bouncing off the ceiling? Journey with Patricia to a deeper understanding of prayer.
2. Trust the classics. Connect with God by focusing on classic Christian texts, like The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Learn about a prayer life that grows out of a love for God: “Let us occupy ourselves entirely in knowing God. The more we know him, the more we will desire to know him. As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love him. We will learn to love him equally in times of distress or in times of great joy.”
If You're Crafty
3. Fold up your prayers. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Prayer is not limited to the written or spoken word; we can express ourselves to God in countless ways. One church wrote out their prayers on pieces of origami paper, and then filled their altar with cranes as a symbolic release of control. So grab some paper and get to folding!
4. Bring them to the cross. Whether it be by building a wooden cross or simply taping one on the floor, experience the sweet surrender of physically taking your requests and placing them at the foot of the cross.
5. Dissolve your worries. Grab a glass and an Alka-Seltzer tablet. Once you drop the tablet into the water, you have until the water finishes fizzing to get out all of your worry and confess it to God. No more fizz—no more worry. You’ve handed it over.
6. Pray with busy hands. It’s time to buy some coloring paper and get to praying. With the recent attention given to the meditative benefits of adult coloring, doodling, and even knitting, there are many “new” ways to pray. Instead of writing your prayers, draw them. Knit them. No matter how you do it, surrender them.