Do you ever feel like your time of prayer is becoming dry?
Do you ever feel like you could use a push?
You know you should pray, and you do, but you just don’t feel like anything is happening. You feel like God is far away.
Let me encourage you that God is still right there with you! He never left you and He never will! (Deuteronomy 31:6.) But if I’m honest, I have felt this way.
The human condition, naturally, is not lined up with the Spirit of God. It takes active training and intentionality and attention to really connect with God sometimes. It doesn’t make you a bad Christian, it just makes you human. Here are some alliterative strategies that have helped me.
I think we can all agree that life gets hectic. There’s school, work, the kids, the chores, the errands, the bills, and anything else we can encounter every day- maybe a mixture of all or some of these things all at once. God knows we get tied up.
God knows we get distracted and busy. He doesn’t want this to come in between His relationship with us, though. This is not to say that you are condemned for having too much on your plate. In contrast, God actually wants to help you carry it. This requires us to hand Him a couple grocery bags though. This requires us to ask for assistance.
My prayer life used to simply consist of me speaking to God in little blurbs throughout the day. It was like my daily text messages with my friends. This isn’t bad in and of itself, but I never paused to have a full conversation with Him. I never actually planned “God time” into my day; I would just squeeze it in while multitasking with some other responsibilities.
However, I have found that I feel the most connected with God when I actually stop to meet with Him. My prayers feel more powerful, my conversations with Him more impactful, when I pause (especially when I incorporate a planned pause) to converse with Him. It’s like the difference between texting or emailing someone and actually meeting up with him for coffee. Since finding this, I have kept a running coffee date with God every morning before I do anything else. It has made all the difference in focusing my prayers, being able to hear His responses, and starting my days centered in the will of my Father.
Several times in the Bible, we see different characters taking different prayer postures. Some knelt (Psalm 95:6), some stood with their hands in the air (1 Timothy 2:8), some with heads bowed, others laid “prostrate” with their faces on the ground (Ezra 9:5).
Many people close their eyes, others don’t. Some prefer to clasp their hands, others prefer to hold them out. As long as your intention is to honor and show reverence to God, there is no wrong way. I do advise, however, that you try remaining consistent in your posture. I’ve found that when I do this, prayer comes more easily to me. My preferred posture is kneeling with my head bowed. When I get in that position, even though I am barely awake, it’s like my mind clicks into “prayer mode”, like “alright, it’s time to pray!”
The Impact of Posture
To illustrate this, I want you to think of when you go to the bathroom. (I promise I’m not trying to be gross. I’m just being real. Stick with me!) When you go sit down on the porcelain throne, even if you didn’t necessarily feel like you needed to go, you almost automatically start to. That position is familiar to your body; you don’t normally have to think about it. That position is a trigger for the coming event. This is what kneeling is to my prayer life.
Even when my mind starts to wander off, the physical positioning of my body is a reminder of my purpose. It also shows commitment to my conversation. It shows that I am not just talking to Him in passing or out of convenience. God is God whether I talk to Him standing or sitting, hands raised or behind my back, jumping in the air or stretching in a split. But I’ve found that there is something powerful about keeping a consistent posture of prayer. It is a show of intentionality to bend into a position not natural to any other part of my day. A posture I reserve for God; it is exclusive. It is something I share only with Him. Naturally, this reservation tends to make our conversation more personal and special.
I spoke on bodily position, but now I refer to spatial positioning. The Bible speaks of a “prayer closet” (Matthew 6:6). It is a space where one can be alone with God. It’s a place reserved just for meeting with God. It is a place shut off from the distractions and discouragements of the world where one can go to just exhale and vent to the Father, to seek refuge in His words. While I would love to dedicate an actual closet or room to this, I currently live in a dorm and my closet is currently just a little wardrobe in the corner, so that is not feasible. I do try to apply this concept though, and I have found it helpful.
While God is omnipresent, and I could technically hold a conversation with Him anywhere in the world. I’ve found that it’s great to conduct my planned meetings with Him in the same place every day on the rug at the side of my bed.
Have you shared a “meeting place” with a friend?
When I was in middle school, my friends and I met in a specific hallway or between a specific set of poles in the courtyard. It was special because it was “our place”, it was something common to us, something that predictably brought us together. That rug on the said of my bed is mine and God’s place.
Of course, I can meet Him outside of it, just like I could meet my friends throughout the day in class or in the cafeteria, but God and I have claimed that spot. When I’m lost, I know that I can at least find that spot. And I know that when I go to my “closet”, God and I will meet up. And I will tell Him what’s going on, and He will listen, and I will leave that place feeling better and lighter than I entered.
These are some techniques that have worked for me, but of course, everyone’s relationship with God looks different. Let me know what works for you! If you find yourself in a place where you’re questioning your prayer life, be encouraged in the fact that God loves you and your effort is not in vain!
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Anomaly Jaie (A.J.) manages and writes for StudiedandApproved.com, a blog at the intersection of the Christian and student lifestyles. She is currently working toward graduate degrees in Criminal Justice and Public Administration, specializing in juvenile justice. In her free time, she likes to work out, play her guitar, and eat Publix rainbow sprinkle cookies.