Friday, February 13, 2009

Getting started

So what is prayer, really? And how do we go about it? Do we set aside certain times each day for prayer, or do we pray in snippets of conversation throughout the day? Should we pray in the morning or in the evening? What does it mean to "pray continuously?"

I'm hoping to delve into some of these things for myself in this & future posts, and if any of them help someone else, then that's just a bonus!

Something I've always struggled with is having consistent times spent in prayer & Bible study (I like to refer to this as my "quiet time," although sometimes my prayers are anything but quiet!).

I've never been a big morning person. I can wake up early, if I have to. But don't expect me to be happy about it or have a nice conversation over breakfast unless I've been awake for at least an hour! Growing up, I had always heard people in church talk about "waking up to have their quiet time" and "the morning is the best time of the day to devote to God." I think that this has been one of the reasons I struggled with consistency--mornings are my worst time of day to focus, I'm exhausted, and usually fall asleep when I try to pray.

I tried evenings, but somehow that didn't feel as "spiritual" compared to what other people were doing. And I would find that I'd forget what I read or learned after a good night's sleep. Working full-time made any during-the-day quiet time difficult. So, when was I supposed to find time for God?

I used to always think, "When I get to be a stay at home mom, I'll be at home all the time. I'll have sooo much time to devote to God's Word and prayer." (snicker) Looking back, I had much more free time when I worked during the day than I do now at home! The grass is always greener, isn't it?

My point in this rambling post is that I'm learning that it's all about embracing the season of life that you are in. Are you single and live alone? Maybe mornings work out great for you. You can wake up...instead of your morning coffee with the paper it's your morning coffee with your Bible. There are no spouses or children to disturb your peaceful times with Christ. Or maybe you work evenings and get home around 1 or 2 a.m. There's not much on TV anyway...get out your Word. Let Him speak to you. Spend some time talking to Him.

For me, in this season of my life with 2 small children and a husband who works weird hours....I just have to take it when I can get it. Five minutes at the breakfast table (you know, when the kids are done eating--you're always the last one eating anyway, take advantage of that time). I post some prayer reminders above my sink; while I do dishes, I say little prayers for people I love. Sometimes, like today, the days are horrible and endless. The last thing I really want to do is spend time with the Lord at midnight. But I know it's the One Thing I need to do.

My husband (oddly enough, a morning person!) gives me grief about staying up late. He does this because he loves me, I know, and because he's wise. He knows that there is an almost 100% chance that one or both of our small children will be awake between midnight and five a.m. But sometimes, like tonight, I know that an extra hour spent with my Lord is not an hour of sleep wasted, but an hour of strength gained. I am re-centered, my mind and heart are once again at peace. I gain new power for the days to come.

I was reading in Psalm 119 tonight, and I was encouraged by all the different times of day that the author prayed or meditated on God's Word. "In the night I remember your name." "At midnight I rise to give you thanks." "I meditate on it [your word] all day long." "I rise before dawn and cry for help." "My eyes stay open through the watches of the night." "Seven times a day I praise you."

Let's not get hung up on the "when" but concentrate on the "Who."

4 comments:

Organizing Mommy said...

Krista,

So encouraging!! Yes, when my littles were so young, I had to read the word and pray in the evening. If you take some notes on what you have read, you can do a quick refresher in the morning, commit yourself to the Lord, and enjoy the day.

We should get together when you are in town. My phone is 815-964-6462. I will be gone this weekend though. I am home on Thursdays.

Also, Sharestuff is a new thrift store connected with Heartland Church on Alpine (5 corners)

In Christ, Jena

Vicki said...

Krista,
HI. I found your blog from Life as a Mom's recipe collection via Money saving mom. Whew! I can't believe I remembered that.

I wanted to thank you for your post. It spoke loudly to me. I am single and work odd hours as a nurse and I have great difficulty finding consistent time to be in the word with God. I often get advice on how to make it all work but it is always from people who work 8-5/m-f and just don't seem to relate or empathize with my odd hours. The mention of "it's all about embracing the season of life that you are in" makes a light bulb go off in my head. Maybe I can figure out a way. I find that I often spend time with God during bedtime to chase loneliness away. But I find I'm doing more taking than giving and I need to find time to give back to our wonderful Lord and Savior.
Thanks again and I hope you have a blessed day.

Janet said...

krista,

your thoughts on prayer are amazing....thoughts I myself have had many times. Isn't it crazy how sometimes we want to read books about prayer or listen to others talk about prayer or read blogs about prayer....all the while we just need to actually pray. also, I used to struggle with that whole it's-best-to-pray-in-the-morning thing. And just like you, I am NOT a morning person! Anyway, somewhere along the way God showed me that the time of day isn't important, what matters is just to spend time daily in prayer/the Word. I do need to sort of "schedule" it into my day, because it's easy to put if off and then too tired at bedtime etc. but it's not always the same time everyday or for the same amount of time. Remember when we read that book, "let prayer change your life" and how at that time we committed to each praying for an hour a day and we kept each other accountable - I remember staying over at your house one night and you kicked me out of the room and told me not to come back until I had spent time with the Lord, because I hadn't done so that day!!

wow...I guess that was more than a comment!

Thanks for all the times you've prayed for us! We love you!

janet

The Mobile Massager said...

you need to post more on this blog...amazing. This one hit the spot today for me. I liked the part where you talked about whatever season you are in. It's so easy to compare your life, your relationship to God with everyone else around you. And it really hinders more than helps sometimes. Thanks for this. Don't stop posting when you can!