Monday, November 17, 2008

Praying Intentionally

We all know that praying is important in the life of a Jesus follower. But there always seems to be an elusive quality about it in that we're not sure just "how to do it." Once in conversation with a group of people I discovered that some "prayed" once a day. I was left wondering if they talked to their friends, spouses, family "once a day." A pastor called a congregation to 90 minutes of prayer a day for the purpose of spiritual growth. They found it more than challenging and again I pondered over how much time is spent watching television, reading, exercising. So many of our activities throughout the day are intentionally planned, intentionally executed, intentionally accomplished. Prayer somehow falls through the cracks of our intentionally planned days.

It is perhaps because we think of prayer as only a one way conversation. Most of my friends wouldn't tolerate my friendship for very long if I sat and talked to them for 90 minutes. Our friendship continues and flourishes because we talk with each other in a mutual back and forth conversation. Sometimes talking, sometimes listening makes a rich and satisfying experience.

I took on the challenge of 90 minutes of intentional prayer for the past three weeks. Some days were spent with 30 minutes here, 15 minutes there and so on. Others provided a total immersion into the refreshing waters of prayer. It has been life changing. The intentionality of accepting the challenge kept prayer in front of me throughout my day. My days have become turning off the radio while driving to an appointment and I find I've had a 25 minute conversation. Standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes listening to God's Spirit suddenly 20 more minutes have passed.
The days and hours of intentional prayer have given me life at a time when I felt life waning.

This week I am putting my physical house in order. In the process I am praying that during the physical ordering my conversations with my Father will do some spiritual ordering as well.

Prayer isn't about "how to do it" or even "when" but more along the lines of how much do we desire and long to be in conversation with the One who made us.

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