The Next Steps in your Prayer Journey
A way forward:
Have you made a start and are still learning? Are you struggling with the things you have decided to do? Did you used to have a great prayer life but, somewhere along the line, things have become more difficult?
There are some things in common with all the stages of our prayer life and growing through them.
Whenever we are looking to grow or make a change we have to look, first, at where we are. Imagine wanting to plant a garden and not looking at the soil to see whether it has nutrients, not looking at the weather to see if your plants will suit the climate or just sticking to the idea of a garden, buying the plants, and then never actually planting them at all.
Where are you?
So where are you in your life? If you have just started on your prayer journey you may still be experimenting and trying to find your feet. It may seem a bit confusing and hard to get a hold of. Don’t worry. There are some aspects which will get easier over time. There are also things which will remain a mystery and things which will puzzle and confuse us, no matter how good a prayer routine we have.
Perhaps you used to have a good routine, but your life or schedule has changed, and you are finding yourself a bit out of touch with God. The arrival of children is a place where people typically struggle or the move from a junior post to a more senior one. Perhaps you have been dealing with illness or the death of a loved one. Any life change will shift your perspective and, often, your schedule and energy and we have to be kind to ourselves. God is kind to us and understands.
How is it going?
So where are you in life? What is going well and what isn’t? Where are your stressors? What saps your energy and what brings you joy? Gather these thoughts together you might want to write them down, settle yourself as well as you can, and offer them to God. So, this is where you are. Ask God to guide you and listen for a minute or two. Just stopping and “resetting” in God’s presence is a fantastic prayer.
How does it feel?
Once you have thought about where you are, think about what you are doing in your prayer life. Where do you feel fed? Where do you drag yourself through? Whilst it is tempting to look only for things which make us “feel good”, conversation with God is sometimes about being unsettled and uncomfortable so sit with it for a few days and ask God the simple question, do I need to stick with this, so you can teach me, or do I need to change?
Find it, enjoy it:
Prayer is not a “one size fits all” experience. You might need to spend some time looking around for things which work for you or trying them out. You might need to work a bit harder on the things you are already doing. More practical ideas are found in the beginner guide, here.
Remember, prayer is, ultimately, coming joyfully into the presence of God. Sometimes, however, we have to work hard to get to that mountaintop.