One day, I sat down in my favorite chair to pray.
The house was quiet now that my husband was off to work, and my son and daughter were at school. I folded my hands in my lap, bowed my head, and started to silently pray.
But as I tried to focus on God and what I wanted to pray to Him about, my mind started to drift. I tried for a while to reign my thoughts back into line, but I just could not stop thinking about all the laundry that wasn’t done and the mess in the kitchen left over from breakfast. I thought about a bill that I really needed to pay and groceries that needed to be bought.
And suddenly, all the things that had been on my heart to lift up to God in thanks or petition had evaporated.
Does this ever happen to you?
Because this instance was not the first time I had struggled to stay focused while praying. And the thing is, the people and experiences that I wanted to thank God for were important. The people or circumstances that I wanted to lift up for healing or intervention were important.
I felt like I needed to bring a change to how I prayed. I looked online for suggestions. I talked to friends and faithful Jesus-followers. I even prayed about how I should be praying. But, nothing seemed to be able to keep me on the right track; to keep me focused and alert.
Frustrated, I mentioned this to a friend that I hadn’t talked to in a while. She suggested to me the solution I had been looking for… praying the Scriptures. I would pick a passage of Scripture and insert the names of my children or friends or circumstances. Proverbs and Psalms seemed to be the favorite books of the Bible for me to read from. I was so encouraged that I felt confident to pray more and more.
My prayers had meaning and focus and depth, because God was the author of these prayers! I added another layer to my prayer life when my wonderful friend and I started praying the Scriptures together… and aloud. My prayers were no longer just mine, and they were no longer silent. They were shared and they had a voice. Matthew 18:19-20 says “Again, I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in My name, there I am with them.”
All of this happened over 8 years ago. My friend and I have been meeting together every Friday for over 8 years. We mostly focus our prayers on our kids. When we started praying together, our kids were so young, and our prayers reflected that. Now our kids are solidly in their teen years and our prayers reflect that, too. What we pray for is different, but not how… or why… or to whom.