Eat less. Pray more. Love abundantly.
So what does it mean to pray more? Is it quantity or quality? Is it conversation or convention?
I was raised Catholic. Praying was highly structured and often involved a rosary and only occurred during Mass.
In college I experimented. Most kids try sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Me? I tried Jesus. I joined the most charismatic of charismatic, Protestant, college house church. Prayer was a sport, often with full contact, oil and yelling.
Now we are Methodist, sorta.
One of the core tenets of this journey is to pray more. What does that really mean?
Should I rise before the sun (and my children) and pray quietly on the carpet before the birds sing?
Should I sleep with my bible in hand?
Or should I pray in the middle of the everyday grind? Recently, I was struggling with thoughts of rejection from a friendship gone wrong. I was cleaning a fixture at work and literally said aloud, “I evict you!”. A customer looked at me and ran to the register. This level of ‘more’ could be a little too much.
I have been praying more. However, lately it’s a pleading, cajoling, complaining and, frankly, bitching. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. And sometimes in prayer how I really feel, the unvarnished, uncensored, and the very unreligious me comes out.
So I have decided to take a slightly blended tactic. Structure plus substance.
First, the structure. There are two prayer books I have highlighted, underlined and sticky-noted. They are full of scriptures. I figure if I agree with what God already says, then He will agree with me on the expected outcomes.
Second, substance. Psalm 51:17 says, “My sacrifice, indeed the acceptable sacrifice, to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” The Amplified defines a contrite heart as one broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent. My brokenness, when offered honestly and unvarnished in prayer, is a sacrifice God cannot deny.
Third, I have been sacrificing more time. Been trying to put prayer first, before anything else. It’s a discipline I have coveted in other people, and have yet to cultivate as much as I would like in my own life.
Finally, part of praying paradoxically also means praying less. Praying less for myself and more for others. Today I prayed for two of my friends. I put them before me. In the midst of my brokenness I turned my vision towards Heaven for someone else. It was refreshing and empowering.