Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wishin' and Hopin' and Thinkin' and Prayin'

I have been really bad at praying. My husband and I pray together each day, but I don't always remember to pray outside of that. I mean, I say little prayers throughout the day, but there's not always one major Sit Down, Focus, and Talk to God prayer time.

There are some very human reasons for this. Sometimes I think I can do things on my own, so I don't think God needs to be bothered with my piddly little prayers. Why would the Creator of the Universe care whether or not I worked out this morning? Why would he care if I needed help writing a script or dealing with a cranky toddler? Clearly, he must have better things to do than worry about the minutiae of my day. He does have big things to worry about. He's got natural disasters, death, disease, famine. He's got a lot on his plate.

But that's the amazing thing about God. His plate is infinite. He can be everywhere all the time, dealing with an infinite number of things constantly.

That's what makes him God and me Rachel. My ability to multi-task is limited to playing solitaire while I watch a show on Hulu.

I've also spent time assuming God knows what I need or want, so why ask him for it? He can read my mind. That should be good, right?

Eh. He'd rather we tell him. He wants us to have a conversation with him. More importantly, he wants us to have a relationship with him. You can't build a relationship with someone if you never talk to him/her. God wants our time and attention, too.

Ah, time. The thing most of us appear to be short on. There's a book out there with a great title: Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels. When life overwhelms us, that's exactly when we need to engage in prayer. My problem is that when I'm in the midst of chaos and I stop to pray, my brain doesn't stop. In fact, my brain goes even faster, and I find it nearly impossible to focus on prayer.

The most useful tool to help curb this prayer ADD is a prayer journal. It's like writing a letter to God every day. The prayer journal is useful for several reasons:
  1. You get to keep track of what you've prayed about. That means you can look back and see how God answers prayers. I can attest to the awesomeness of that ability.
  2. There's something about putting pen to paper that helps keep you focused. Your thought is going from your brain to the pen, and there's very little room for you to stray from your prayer.
  3. Because you're focused, it's easy to hear God clearly. There are days where God's voice is so clear in my heart that I could write my prayers out like a script, with me questioning and God answering. The clarity is amazing.
  4. Most people don't fall asleep while they're writing, which cannot be said for praying. I've even been known to pray to help me fall asleep when I can't. Sad but true.
For about a year and a half now, on and off, I've been using this prayer journal: 

It's just a composition book with a cover made from an old silk tie. It's lovely in person—shiny and pretty and rainbow-like. I actually won it from a website called CleverNesting.com, and the directions to make this cover are here. Because it's attractive and brightly colored, I can't miss it if it's sitting out on my nightstand. It draws me to it, like a moth to a flame. 

A guilty moth who knows it should be praying. 

Some days I'll write and write and write—page after page of tearful prayers. But that doesn't happen very often. Writing makes my hand hurt. But you know what doesn't make my hand hurt?


This week, I started my very first digital prayer journal! I say digital because that sounds high tech, but it's really just a Word document that I've gussied up with a nice background and a pretty border. I put a link to it on the desktop and put a password on it for prying eyes (although my husband hates to be on the computer at home, since he's on the computer at work all day, so it's probably an unnecessary step). 

What I'm discovering about this prayer journal is how much more I write. I type much faster than I write. I can easily do three pages typed, while three pages written feels like I'm copying the phone book or something. Plus I have really lousy handwriting, and I'm not sure God can read my hieroglyphics. 

The other great thing is that I'm reminded to pray every time I sit down at the computer. It's right there, staring at me from the desktop when I sit down to check e-mail or Facebook. But I don't even have to find a pen! I just double-click and type away! 

If you've never tried a prayer journal, I encourage you to do so. It's helped me connect to God in ways I didn't know were possible. Because, you know, it's hard to have a conversation when my end of the line keeps going dead. 



  1. What a great idea! I'm going to try journaling my prayers too. Thanks for this!

  2. Wow. I LOVE this idea!! I've kept a prayer journal for years, for all the reasons you listed, but sometimes it gets tough to write every single thought and prayer out. I love, love the idea of typing my prayers. Why didn't I think of that before??? Thanks for the great idea!!

    Oh, and about chores ... I understand. My mom didn't do a great job of teaching me how to do household stuff either. Frankly, that's why I've been so bad at instructing my kids. I spent most of their growing up years figuring it out myself. I also watched friends who seemed to know what they were doing. And asked them how they did stuff. It's definitely not the easy way to run a household. I'm hoping to help my kids (esp. my daughter) learn some things before she's out of the house. Your comment really struck a nerve with me and I don't think we're alone in this, Rachel. Think I might write a follow-up post about it. ;0) See, you gave me another great idea. No wonder why I come here! ;0)

  3. This is such a good idea. I've actually started one a few times, but doing it on the PC would be SO much easier! I'm a bit scatterbrained when I pray too. :) Well, when I do most things these days! LOL!


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