It seems inevitable that at this time of year we reflect on the highs and lows and vow to make the new year even better. I'm not big on making resolutions, but I do constantly evaluate which areas of my life need improvement. There are a few obvious ones. I need to get in shape. I need to manage my money better and become more of a minimalist, (and believe it or not I'm working on that one!) What might not be so obvious is the need for a deeper prayer life.
I pray every day, usually several times a day. I'm good at praying when times are tough or when I need help. I'm even good at constantly thanking the Lord for my blessings. What I'm not good at is spending regular time in conversation with the Him. The difference between the kind of prayer I do daily and having regular conversations with God is that the first type is one sided and the other type includes listening. I'm good at talking. Anyone who knows me is aware of that. What I need to work on is the listening part. What is God trying to tell me?
"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
I don't know about you, but I don't often "Be still". Life is busy. There isn't much room for stillness. Sure I'm in the Word daily (for the most part.) It's easy to read from the Bible, do my BSF lesson or read a Christian living book without being still and listening for what God wants me to know. When you talk to someone it is (generally) a two way conversation. Talking to God shouldn't be any different. He is God and will be exalted among the nations and in all the earth whether I'm still and hearing what He wants from me or not. Personally, I'd like to be a part of it. I don't want to watch from the sidelines. This might sound cheesy, but I can hear the Army slogan, "Be all that you can be!" in the back of my head. (Hey, I said it might sound cheesy!) I don't want to only be an observer of who God is and what He is doing. I want to be an active part of it. How can I do this? By spending committed time in prayer, not only praying but listening.
A sweet friend from church gave me the book Every Child Needs a Praying Mom by Fern Nichols, the founder and president of Moms in Touch International. I've not yet read the entire book, but I'm working on it. I was inspired right from the beginning on the second page of the introduction. Fern writes about when her ministry first began, and she says, "We prayed rather than talked about praying." This hit home with me. I don't want to be a talker. I want to be a doer.
In order to do, you need a plan of action. I've mentioned before that I like to wake up before the boys and enjoy a cup of coffee (or two) while I spend time with God. It is my goal to wake up an extra 15 minutes to devote time to prayer. I will get up earlier, because I don't want to cut short or rush my Bible reading. This time will include praising God, confessing my sins, thanking Him for the blessings I've received and lifting up requests I have. Then I will do my best to sit quiet and LISTEN.
Those of you who are faithful in your prayer life might think 15 minutes doesn't sound like much. You're right, but it's a start. Those of you who don't pray at all might think 15 minutes sounds intense. Everyone needs to start somewhere. If you could commit to start praying for even 2-5 minutes every day, I guarantee you will see different in your life.
I'd like to invite all of my readers to join me in this prayer challenge. Whether you can commit to 2 minutes or 15 or even more let's join together for 366 days of prayer in 2012. Since my blog is about raising my children I'm going to make the challenge specific to praying for our children. Each day I'll write something specific we can pray about concerning our little ones. If you currently don't pray very often this will be a great start to spend time talking to God daily. If you already regularly come before Him in prayer, add a time of specific prayer for your child(ren) to your list.
As I mentioned in my very first blog post, I am writing this for accountability. I am really committed to 366 days of praying for my boys. I don't want to start something that I won't see through, because I know if I stick with it I will see God work in amazing ways that I can't even imagine right now. By making public my goal I'm hoping to have the accountability to faithfully stick with it. I'd love for you to join me and hopefully share how God works through you and in the life of your kids this year. If committing to a year seems overwhelming right now, start off smaller. Commit to the month of January. We need to start somewhere. Who is with me?