At All Times-Psalm 34:1

January 8, 2012

A Floundering Prayer Life Fixed by a Children’s Picture Book

This is the first year since I can remember that I have not written New Year’s Resolutions.  Usually I take the New Year to evaluate my spiritual life and establish some goals and plans for my devotions and prayer life. My husband initiated some changes to our shared prayer life at the start of the New Year for which I am very grateful. However, my own prayer life has been floundering and I did not evaluate it and come up with a course of action to address it. That all changed today!

I have been facing, for some extended period of time the common problems associated with prayer that you may be facing as well: lack of time, lack of focus, not knowing what to pray for (because there is so much to pray about!), and lack of enthusiasm. In the last month or two I have addressed the first obstacle: lack of time.  Today, I was reminded, very kindly by the Lord of how to address my lack of focus and my difficulty in determining the content of my prayers.

A kind couple at church gave me a children’s book today for my kids: The Barber who Wanted to Pray by R.C. Sproul. In the story, a father shares a tale with his children to teach them how to pray. He tells an account (based on a true story) of how Martin Luther wrote a booklet for a barber who wanted to learn to pray. The father shares with his children the advice that Dr. Luther gave the Barber… pray through the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed.

How quickly we forget. Back in High School, Dr. Don Whitney introduced to me the concept of praying through Scripture, particularly the Psalms. It seems that every time I have had difficulty with my prayer life, I return back to this simple principle and it resolves all my problems. Praying through the Scripture keeps me focused and guides my prayers. Naturally, as I encounter God through His Word it fuels my passion and enthusiasm.  Why did I not think of this months ago? I have been through this cycle countless times in the last 10 years.  I am so thankful for having the time to preview this children’s book while my kids were busy this afternoon.  I can say with great excitement that I will be back in the Word, praying through it tomorrow!

For those of you who have made resolutions to pray more but aren’t quite sure how, I would highly recommend learning more about this principle through Dr. Whitney’s book. For example’s sake, praying through Scripture would look something like this….

Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd: “God, I thank you for shepherding me. How gracious you are to care for me as your own sheep. You provide for all I need and protect me with such love and care!”
I shall not want: “Help me to trust your provision Lord! I know that as you watch over me, you have my best interest at heart and will provide everything I need. Please do not let me doubt this truth. Lord you know how greatly we need ****. I know that you are able to provide this for me and I trust that you will do so in your way and your time. ”

and so on…

For those of you who like check lists, this will not allow you the satisfaction of saying “Okay, I prayed for x, y, z on Monday, d, e, f on Tuesday and …..” However, this will certain allow you to pray intimately with the Lord about what you can trust that He is leading you to day by day.

 

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