Can Prayer Be Simple?
When I was in college, my church went through a teaching on prayer that taught us to pray for an hour a day. My rule-follower self dove into the method, and I enthusiastically used the formula to work toward “tithing my time” in prayer.
There are so many good memories of that time, but can I be honest with you? I don’t remember the prayer formula at all. I’ve tried lots of “how tos” and formulas since that have also been long-forgotten.
What I DO remember of that regular prayer in college is the sweetness of time with God. That’s what I long to recapture.
Don’t get me wrong. Daily (or almost daily) time with God has been a pattern in my life since I received a 30-day challenge when I was sixteen. In a dorm-room discussion with my suite mates, we compared notes on how we spent our time with Him. At that point, prayer came easiest to me while Bible study was harder and seemed more like homework. Since then, those preferences have shifted, and that’s ok.
What’s not ok is how lack-luster my prayer life had become. I believe that’s why my God-assigned word for 2018 is “pray.”
There was a big part of me that wanted to dive in the way my college self did by figuring out the rules and following them. Finding a formula and working it. Ferreting out the book on perfect prayer and doing exactly what the author did. Do you hear my issues embedded in those plans. Sigh. I’m definitely still a reforming perfectionist!
Instead, God has taken me back to Prayer Kindergarten by giving me simple (and even playful!) tools to give me air and space to breathe… beside Him. Prayer is becoming a joyful journey instead of a tedious one. Because I’m a resource junkie and share all my favs with those I love, I want to share a couple of these simple tools with you.
A Pre-Prayer Tool
One of the hardest parts about prayer for me is clearing my mind. My to-do lists start swirling around in my head the moment I open my eyes in the morning, and even a cup of coffee in my quiet time chair doesn’t settle my popping thoughts.
I needed a way to quiet and focus my brain before prayer. My friend Carol shared her version of a method that she learned from Amy Hale on Instagram, and I created my own quick-and-easy document for my prayer notebook. You can click on the graphic below to download it, and you should really follow Amy Hale on Instagram by clicking here so that you can get more genius prayer ideas from the creator of this one!
A Prayer Calendar
Ever since the release of Praying Upside Down, I’ve been receiving Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s prayer calendar and using it sporadically. This year, I’m printing it out, putting it in my prayer notebook, and using her prayer prompts every day.
This is where “delightful” comes in! Kelly is an artist who’s creativity flows into her calendars. This month the theme is superheroes, and it looks like this:
She gives directions each day like: “Pray for a trusty sidekick”, “Pray for someone who flies a lot” and “Pray for a man who is stronger than he knows.”
Don’t you love this? You can receive her monthly prayer calendar too by clicking on the graphic above and following Kelly’s directions. This month’s is still available and too adorable to miss!
These are two tools that God is using to simply prayer for me so that He can make His presence known in my time with Him. How about you? Do share your simple tools for prayer!
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Amy, I just found this and I’m so honored! Thank you. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the calendars and I look forward to hearing about what God teaches you about prayer this year!
I’m such a fan, Kelly! I was scared to get “pray” assigned to me as my word. I thought I’d have to jump through lots of hoops, but God keeps leading me to great resources like yours. They’re resources that tap into the way He made me. I’m a check list kind of girl with a wide practical streak, so I’m LOVING your calendar. Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for sharing these resources, Amy. I especially like the simple yet focused template from Amy Hale!
Love these suggestions! Thank you!! I feel just like you did- enjoying my Bible study and want to ENJOY my prayer time- not just something to mark off my ‘to do’ list.
Jan, I’m so glad they’re helpful! Yes… I want to enjoy time with God. Thankfully, I think that’s what He wants too!
This is so inspiring, Amy. And so helpful. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s like you read my mind!
Thanks so much, Kendra. That reforming perfectionist part of me finds it hard to put things out there that are so simple. It’s just that old, nasty self-righteousness that wants to appear “deep”, though. This is where I authentically am!
I just love it when I wake up and read a devotion that is just what I need! This was it! Praise God. Before bed last night I announced to my husband that in the morning I plan to begin a new life schedule! LOL To spend time with God before I come downstairs. before I turn on my computer. To eat better, move more, Limit TV time and set aside periods during the day for study, you get the idea! I woke at five and instead of leaping out of bed I fell back to sleep then at 6:15 woke again and staggered downstairs for coffee! Shot off a quick prayer and yup…Turned on my computer, and there was your message on prayer. Praise God!
God is so good. He always gets us where He wants us! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Deborah!
What an excellent word for the year…….”Pray” Thank you Amy these ideas on Prayer. I cannot remember where I first heard of the 5 Finger Prayer but it helped me put my prayers into perspective in regards to praying for others more than myself. Here is a link. I hope I copied this correctly. If not, I apologize and I am sure you can google it. You are a blessing Amy and I enjoy your blog. ~Lisa~
I love this, Lisa. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us!