Prayer isn’t easy. Until you have some help or practice. If you’ve been having trouble prioritizing time for God in your busy life, I have a few solutions, one of them from Nike of all places.
We all have weak spots. One of mine is my ankle. It turned outward during a tennis game years ago and has been weak ever since. With no warning or provocation, it decided to turn outward again three months ago while I was carrying my granddaughter.
I managed to stagger-step enough to prevent either of us from falling, but twisted my knee in the process.
After several months of no improvement, I finally saw a doctor and began physical therapy. A list of daily exercises sits on my beside table. A blue stretch band eyes me beside it.
For several days, I successfully eyed the band without doing anything about it. I’m really good at resisting. Doing a measly ten minutes of exercises at home seems to be a challenge. I know I’ve got to do them and I don’t wanna.
My daughter’s petulant lower lip comes to mind from her toddler years.
I’ve seen this behavior resistance before. Just about any time something requires effort I perceive as difficult or uncomfortable or scary. Procrastination pattern 101: Look at it more than do it. Think about it passively. Warm up to the idea, you know? Then go do something else for a while to stall. Maybe eat something.
When I turned over in bed last night and my knee hurt, I winced less at the physical discomfort and more at the pain of realizing that by giving in to my resistance to the exercise was hurting only myself. I’m sure you can find an example like this in your life. What have you been putting off? How’s your relationship with the One Who made you, for instance?
We get mad at God sometimes for similar reasons. We know we need to invest some time into that relationship if we’re ever going to start feeling a better friendship with Him. But geez, that’s just not easy.
Prayer is best before the valley time hits.
The time to build faith, to start talking to God is before we hit a deep valley. Life is full of hills and valleys.
You need God in the valleys. You find Him climbing the hills.
I know just ten minutes a day would make a significant improvement in getting to know Him, but it’s not like I can sit down and have a two-way conversation, you know? (See the chapter called The Voice in God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul for more on that.)
It’s easy to resist prayers with God. He’s usually silent on the topic.
So I did my ankle exercises a few paragraphs back because I hate having myself to blame when uncomfortable things remain unchanged. When I faced the challenge of asking people to join my team years ago, Les Brown’s wisdom cut through my persistent resistance.
“If you like the results you’re getting, then keep doin’ what you’re doin’.
If you want something different, you have to change.“
Sitting around moping and complaining about something I don’t like is pretty dumb. It’s irritating to those around me who don’t need any more negativity in their life.
It’s the same for you. It’s reinforcing stuckness by informing your unconscious that you don’t want to heal, grow, or change. Did you know it hears like a child and believe everything you say? It doesn’t pick up sarcasm like “I guess I’m never gonna heal this ankle.” Or any variation you may be saying to yourself:
never gonna get the job,
never gonna lose weight,
never gonna find a good friend,
never gonna be smart,
never gonna graduate,
never gonna make it big,
never gonna like that person.
You unconscious takes you at your word and works to make sure you don’t heal or interview well, or stay disciplined at what portions you eat, or get out socially to meet new people, or find out about the life of the pain-in-the-butt you have to deal with that could open empathy within you.
Mental Discipline works for prayer as well as sports or business.
Part of my mental discipline for achievement includes making internal statements about what I will achieve even when I have no idea how I will do it, even when I don’t f-e-e-e-e-e-e-l it is ever gonna happen. Because my unconscious doesn’t know
the difference. It believes everything I say and it works all the time, even while I sleep.
I like Nike’s advertising theme: Just Do It. It’s easy to say internally in moments of resistance. It cuts through a stubborn mindset.
Next time you feel like complaining that God doesn’t seem to care about you or answer your prayers, consider starting a prayer journal to Him Grab any notebook or buy yourself on for just the two of you. You’re going after a relationship, right? Well if not, you should. Especially if you’re tired of complaining about that empty feeling. He can fill it. Give Him ten minutes. On a walk. On on a journal page.
Read about Him in His word. The Bible is alive because His word is alive. It’s always talking to you just where you are.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times. -Psalm 119
Just Do It.
If you’d like some starter suggestions on who to write a prayer journal, or a number of other prayer tools like centering prayer, guard of the heart, the Jesus prayer, to give you the breakthrough you’re looking for, click HERE to receive my free prayer tools guide.
Or grab my book God’s Patient Pursuit of My Soul and read about what God’s Voice sounds like (it’s not like Charlton Heston, so stop listening for that!).