One of the things that’s been bouncing around my head lately is prayer. How prayer inhabits my life, or doesn’t. How prayer impacts my mind and transforms my heart, or doesn’t. The habits that make up my prayer practice, or lack thereof.
Let me be super real, friends. My prayer life sucks.
I throw prayers up to God based on friends’ requests, which is fine. I thank Him for our food at occasional mealtimes, which is good. I encourage my children to thank Him for what He’s done and who He is when we cuddle at night before bed, which is perfectly acceptable.
There is no depth or weight or yearning.
The heart behind my prayer practice has become cold, forgetful, and faithless. I feel it. I know God isn’t a vending machine or genie in a lamp. That’s not even what my prayer practice feels like. It feels more like business transactions. Like quick, emotionless text messages communicating bare-bones facts in the most disconnected, thankless way possible.
“Yo. God. Thx 4 bn U. pls hlp my frNd. TLK 2 U later! luv you!”
That’s not what I want. That’s not who I want to be. But I don’t think I know what a meaningful prayer practice really looks like, to tell you the truth.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. Not that I think that matters, necessarily. Neither did Abraham or Moses or David, or so many other people we learn of in Scripture with vibrant, conversational relationships with God.
I know the Bible is our blueprint, but in so many ways it isn’t. I’m not Abraham or Moses or David. I may not have the same relationship with God that they had. I may not hear Him or be used my Him or relate to Him in the same way they did.
Though I’m not Abraham or Moses or David, I still long for that intimacy, those conversations, that clarity in prayer.
I’m a mom. With littles. With dishes and laundry and bills and blog posts and workouts and meal prep and ministry and a million tiny, huge things crowding my brain.
I long for intimacy in the midst of my to-do list. For real conversations with God in the midst of the everyday grind. To clearly hear the Holy Spirit over the sounds of Daniel Tiger and Super Why.
I really want to know…
What does a meaningful, practical prayer practice look like?
The truth is, I have no freakin’ idea. Maybe you feel the same way.
I don’t know how to hear Him and know Him and speak to Him and listen to Him, while making money and paying bills and changing diapers and washing dishes.
His invisibility is difficult. His silence is, um, challenging.
I long for a burning bush or parting seas or visions in dreams to speak loud and clear. In their absence, I can only imagine and construct from scratch. It feels daunting and impossible and beyond me. It feels like building a tower of Babel to reach God, when maybe it should feel more like placing a seed in the ground letting it do it’s thing.
Maybe that’s where it starts. Maybe all I need is my little tiny seed.
Maybe all I can do is bring Him my eensy-weensy seed of faith in prayer, of desire for Him, and ask for His Light, His Water, His Food to grow and nourish it.
I keep having this feeling that a meaningful, practical prayer practice is something I can find in three easy steps. That I can wake up early, buy a journal, print out prayer prompts and BAM! JESUS IS HERE! But that doesn’t sit well with me.
The meaningful prayer practice I’m longing for is more organic and intangible than that. The relationship I seek doesn’t fit in neat check boxes. An organic, intangible, meaningful, relational, deep prayer life seems like something found in the mountains, in solitude, in poverty and fasting.
But that’s not practical. At least not for me.
I have children and a husband and a life in suburbia. A life I love and want. So I must be practical.
And now I’m back to my checkboxes and 3 simple steps. Because “practical” feels like something sterile and formulaic and steeped in ritual, devoid of passion.
There the tension lies. Where can meaning and practicality dwell together? Mixed up in the same business? Living life in the same space?
How does a suburban mom with a to-do list a mile long experience miraculous, heart-changing, spirit-moving, soul-wrenching prayer?
I don’t know, you guys. I don’t freakin’ know. But I’m guessing the God who made the mountains from nothing, the oceans from His word, can show up at the kitchen sink. I’m guessing if I flex my spiritual muscles and try opening my spirit just the tiniest bit, He can rush in like a mighty wind, even with LEGOS underfoot. I’m guessing He doesn’t need check boxes and printable prayer prompts have no power over Him. I think He might show up and fill me up and speak and hear and love and inhabit if I invite Him in.
Maybe that’s where it lives and grows and breathes, this meaningful, practical prayer practice I seek. In the invitation.
In the tiny planted seed. So that’s where I’m starting, with a daily invitation. Maybe even hourly. Circling back to the source without an agenda or purpose or check boxes or printables.
Just an open invite, an expectant opening of a door. Come on in God. Show me more of You. While my hands wipe and clean and drive and serve, let my soul invite you in. Water this little seed of prayer, a seed of hope for depth and passion and meaningful, practical, miraculous, earth-shaking conversation in years to come.