Are you anything like me? And by that, I mean that prayer doesn’t always come naturally. I struggle with remembering to prayer, I wrestle with myself to stay focused while I’m praying, and I fight to pray from my heart instead of mere obligation.
I’ve tried all sorts of tactics in an attempt to nurture my prayer life (but I’ll be honest, I’m an awful gardener. awful. Like, I’ve left two dead plants on my balcony for nearly two months that I continue to water so I can avoid admitting horticultural defeat yet again…) And I’m rarely able to bring my spiritual habits to fruition either.
But the most success I’ve had with focusing on my prayers is through journaling. For me, physically scrawling letters onto clean leafs of notebook paper slows and focuses my mind to the task at hand, and I love being able to return to these wrinkled pages and marvel at how God has worked.
There are numerous acronyms used to organize one’s prayers, but I prefer A.C.T.S.:
Adoration — Confession — Thanksgiving — Supplication
I don’t always follow this exact order, but knowing these four categories organizes my thoughts so that I’m not just doing one thing or another. So often we tend to get caught up in Supplication–that is, asking and presenting our requests to God–and forget to praise Him. It’s incredibly helpful to remember this acronym so that I can spend adequate time adoring and thanking God, as well as confessing and requesting.
I encourage you to find a way that works for you and don’t give up! The length means nothing to God–only the heart behind it. In fact, remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:7?
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”
So please, friend.
Join me in slowing down, quieting our minds, and sharing in some quality time with our Lord and Savior–the One who longs to hear from and be heard by us.
You are so, so good to me.
I’ll never understand how you are able to love me when I fail you so often, but I thank you for that love. Thank you for being everything I’m not–perfect, holy, patient, all-knowing, compassionate, forgiving where it’s not deserved, faithful, good, loving, trustworthy, and so much more. You are so awesome, and I can’t even comprehend a fraction of your greatness! Thank you for never giving up on me, for never abandoning me, even when I know I deserve it. Thank you for your patience with me and for knowing the path I should take before I even need to take it. I can’t even begin to find the words to truly thank you enough for all you are to me, but thank you.
Lord, forgive me!
I fail you more than I care to admit. I’m sorry for doubting you when you’ve never ever let me down, when you’ve promised to never fail me. Help my unbelief. I make you promises and then fail to follow through; I ask forgiveness and then turn around and do the exact thing I just confessed. Help me! I want to be made pure and holy in your sight, I don’t want to take your mercy for granted. I know I can never be worthy of your attention and compassion, but I also know I don’t have to be because “you reached through my darkness to pulled me in/ you stood in my place and became my sin./ To these dead bones, you say Arise! Arise!/ When I couldn’t do it, you crossed the distance/ your love pushed harder than my resistance/ I was a slave, you said, Be free!” Your love outran me. Thank you! Now please purify my heart and strengthen me so I can say no to my sinful nature and yes to life in your spirit.
Now, God, I want to know you more.
I want people to look at me and be able to see you, but even more than that I want to be able to look at me and see you outshining the filth and junk in my life. Lord, fill me with a passion and desire to seek your face more and more everyday, to want to truly know your heart. God, be my “boyfriend”–someone that I want to know absolutely everything about, the person I want to tell about every detail of my day and the person I want to listen to. I know it sounds cliche, but that’s what I want. I want to fall head over heels in love with you! I want to go to you first when I need advice, I want you to be the person I “hang out with” when I’m bored, the person I go to no matter my emotional state, the person I trust with every detail of my life (because I know you already know it all).
Consume me, Lord!
I want to know you: what breaks your heart, what makes you smile. What your dreams for me are, and how you view me.
- Are you enthralled with my beauty?
- Do you long to know my heart more?
- What’s your favorite color? Is it the orange in a sunset? the deepest turquoise of the ocean? Pine tree green, or some wonderfully fabulous color that I can’t even comprehend?? Or do you love them all equally since you created them all?
- I want to know your favorite moment in history!
- I want to know when you look down on me, smile, and feel a sense of pride that I’m your daughter.
I want our relationship to be like Hosea 6:3 (Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”) Me pressing on to know you more and more, and you faithfully responding to me like the promise of rain in April and the sunrise every morning.
You are so awesome, God.
The beauty of your creation takes my breath away, and I love that you’ve given me a hint of your creativity to use myself. I love how I find you in the littlest things: sunrises splashing color across the sleepy world, traffic lights reflecting off of rain-covered streets, the chirping of birds after a long winter. You are everywhere, and I love that about you! Please keep making me like you, keep stealing my heart, and don’t let me grow tired of longing to know you more.
I love you, Lord. Do with me as you wish,