1) Give God Space: At one point in my life my relationship with God seemed to slide but I couldn’t discern why. It just seemed as if we weren’t close anymore. As I reflected, I realized that while I hadn’t done anything overt to distance myself from God, I didn’t give him any space in my life. I listened to my iPod in the shower. Listened to the radio in the car. Had music playing while working, and cleaned the house with the TV on. I was asking God to speak to me, but I realized I hadn’t given him any space to speak. My entire life was filled with noise, with stuff, with things happening. What I’ve started to realize is that for God to speak I have to leave space in my life and day for him. I need to give him my attention and that has changed our whole relationship.
2) Pray in the Morning: I really don’t believe there is one time in the day to pray, but I have found, for me, that prayer in the morning is crucial. Brother Andrew said, “If we do not actively seek God early in the morning, it will be very unlikely that we meet him later in the day.” I have simply found this to be true in my life. If I rush past God in the morning the chances of me slowing down in the day aren’t great. So even though I have a thousand other things I’d like to do in the morning, I know the most important thing is to connect with God.
3) Pray all the Time, Not Just the Mornings: I know this sort of contradicts my last suggestion, but well…life is complex. Here is though what I noticed in my own life a few years ago. What I noticed was that I prayed to get it done, to get it over with, or to put in my time. I prayed in the morning so I could get on with the business at hand and forgot about God the rest of the day. It was as if being present for a moment in the morning was enough for the whole day. Now I know better. I need God all throughout the day. Now my morning prayer is often a prayer to help me discover where God is acting throughout the day. And this has made all the difference.
4) Don’t Give Up: Ready for a confession? Not every conversation I have with my wife is scintillating and life changing. But she has had a tremendous influence in my life and changed me in so many ways. I think something similar happens with God. Not every prayer time is amazing, deep, and energizing, but I know it does change me. The point is to not give up, and to keep in the rhythm of prayer. Prayer is often called a spiritual discipline and this is true. It does take some discipline. So now, when after I’ve prayed and I feel a little frustrated, I remind myself it’s not about how I feel but continually being in the relationship that brings about change. That’s true in my relationship with Krista and even more true in my relationship with God.
So I hope those help you. But what have you learned? What would you add?