Finding Our Way Back Home
Getting Un-Stuck in our Prayer Life
There are times in our lives when we simply need to start something with a fresh outlook. Periodically, we need to begin again – a routine, a resolution or a relationship might need a new view. Our relationship with God is one of those things that we all need to refresh from time to time.
We often make our prayer lives quite complicated, but in many ways, our relationship with God is very much like a relationship with the people we love in our lives. Whether it is a spouse, a friend or a favorite sibling, there are times when we seem out of touch, not sure what the other is thinking or feeling. How do we adjust this? We get in touch with our loved one, making plans for a nice dinner together, a cup of coffee or a phone call.
The very instincts we rely on to get back in touch with our loved ones are the same ones that can reconnect us with our loving God. It starts with a little time. Our lives are hectic, rushed and busy, and too often we work hard to keep them that way. In our busy-ness, we can sometimes pretend that we are not feeling lost or empty. The first step to finding our way home to God begins with a little time.
Our prayer lives can seem complicated, but they don’t need to be. Too often, we arm our prayer lives with books, theories and beautiful prayers we have known since childhood. These are all good things, but sometimes these good things may become routine and can move us into thoughts in our heads rather than feelings in our hearts. Prayer is a conversation from my heart to God’s and our God is waiting with delight to talk with us and to hear us share our lives.
We might begin with just five minutes a day, choosing our own best time of day. If I am a morning person, I make a commitment to rise five minutes earlier each morning to talk with God. If I am better at night, I resolve to take the last five minutes of my day for prayer.
Where do I start? A good way to re-energize our life with God is to simply start with a quiet place, an empty lap and open hands. It also helps if we remember the wonderful news that our God absolutely delights in us and is thrilled that we are taking the time to get back in touch.
We can use our own words to begin to speak to God in our hearts. “I haven’t been in touch for a while but I want to. Help me start again.” We can let God know what is deepest in our hearts.
Why do have trouble doing that sometimes? Because we don’t always trust God’s love for us. We can’t seem to feel that we deserve to be loved in the unending way God loves us. We don’t always trust or believe the depth of that love, especially a love that deep for me, personally. We look at God’s love and compare it to our own limited love and can’t seem to believe that God could love us. We know we are sinners and deep down, we don’t believe we are worthy of God’s love. The Good News of Jesus is that it doesn’t matter whether we deserve it or not. We have that love already. We speak to God as we would to a friend.
After we have spent a few minutes sharing our lives with God, we take a little time to sit in silence and listen. We can get antsy about sitting in silence, but it is in that profound quiet that God speaks to us. Wordlessly and lovingly, God begins to heal our grief or sadness and to rejoice with us in our happiness. Most of all, God wants us to feel deeply his love for each one of us individually.
If we have trouble hearing God speak, we can try to read from Isaiah 43 and simply say in our hearts what God has been telling us: “I have called you by name, _____.” We use our own name as we whisper aloud God’s words of love.
Do not fear, ____. I have called you by name. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned. If your life takes you through raging waters, you will not be swept away. I am with you. I have called you by name, _____.
I thank God for the few minutes we spent together and sit gratefully, committed to meeting up with God again tomorrow.
Renewing our prayer lives is not a project to be crossed off the To Do list. It is a meeting with a friend who cares for me, as if over a cup of coffee.
Our God loves us and calls to us, inviting us to draw closer.
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