Our pastor recently taught a series on the power of prayer, and opened our sanctuary every Saturday evening for a whole month so we could come together and pray as a congregation. To make it easier on those who want to “tarry for an hour,” but don’t know how, he created a chart that breaks an hour into five-minute segments, each focusing on a different topic. Many who used it commented on how much they loved it, on how easy that hour of prayer suddenly became.
I was reminded of this yesterday at lunch. A group of us were discussing how our brains work, and the techniques we use to keep them in line. My brain is a hyper-speed rabbit trail follower. As a result, prayer time can sometimes be frustrating for me as I unsuccessfully try to stay focused. I learned many years ago that for me a prayer journal has great power. The simple act of forcing my thoughts to slow down to the speed of my pen keeps me on the right track. It also creates a prayer paper trail that gives God the chance to say, “Go back and look at what you just wrote.”
All of this explains why my prayer life exploded when my sister blessed me with a new concept in prayer journals two birthdays ago. Produced by Kelly Niemeier who, with her husband, pastors Living Stones Church in Alvin, Texas, it combines the power of written prayers with biblical order (i.e., “Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving…”), and the combination, for me, has been life changing.
If she ever gets her website up and running, I plan to publish a complete review of the journal; for now you can find her through the church, or on Facebook as Kelly Pruitt Niemeier.
My point in this post, however, is to remind everyone that, while we clearly have guidelines to follow (like asking God in Jesus’ name) there are as many ways to pray – to commune and fellowship with God – as there are to commune and fellowship with our dear friends and family. So, unless your approach to prayer is truly unscriptural, don’t feel like you’re wrong just because your style of prayer differs from your neighbor’s. You may spend twenty minutes on your knees by your bed while I spend forty-five with a notebook at my dining table and the next person paces the floor for an hour; the point is to develop a strong, intimate relationship with God.