Pray More

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.

"The Word Works" by Shirley Greenslade published by Agape' Word and Worship Center. "Prayers that Rout Demons & Break Curses" by John Eckhart. Post Its by Post Its.

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.

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