I have never had so much success scheduling a particular time for prayer. Either I establish myself there to pray and my mind goes blank, or something gets in the way of that particular time. So I tend more to dedicate my time for prayer to being willing to respond to the call of the Lord to pray. And being willing, I find that the most effective prayer, for me, needs a place and a purpose.
Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place. II Chronicles 6:40
Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice." ...7:12
Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 7:15
A long time ago, when I owned my shop, my life was a hectic mess some days. There was little time to breathe once I got there, except when friends came in to share a prayer request.We ususally prayed together, or I took time immediately upon their leaving to speak to God specifically about that one thing. But the kind of prayer that had me meeting one on one with my friend Jesus required that I find a place where no one would bother me. And there was only one place. We had a nice large oval tub, and the morning sun danced on the textured glass over the window in the bathroom. It inspired me. That was my special place. There was something fundamental about being there with nothing else available to steal away my thoughts. I spent a lot of mornings just before going to work taking time to meet God, asking his blessing on us, and seeking his will for my day there.
I had a friend once who made a closet into her place of prayer. In it she had a short table, a pillow for her knees, a short stool, a Bible, notebook, pen and candle. She closed the door and sought Jesus there every chance she got.
Most of the time down through the years the purpose for my prayers revolved around my family, or business, or church friendships and souls being saved. In our community, everyone knew everyone. So even though we attended different churches we all prayed for one another. It was never difficult to have a purpose. But I learned that having a general purpose called for praying in specifics. God wanted me to know when he answered my prayers that a specific answer would absolutely have come from him alone. I shared this concept with many who brought me requests, and some would come with their specifics prepared. We would be so excited to rejoice and praise the Lord when he answered specifically and we knew it. So in a way my shop became a place for prayer. And the purpose almost always revolved around the needs of people.
As time goes on, these things change. These days, I have so little contact with very many people, that I gain a great deal from journaling when I pray.The purpose of most of my prayers revolves around a deepening relationship with God. And my journals serve 2 purposes:
- When my heart is burdened and God calls me to prayer, I like to journal about how the situation is presenting itself. What scripture of direction, or promise the Lord is giving me, how open I am at the time to what the Lord is doing in my life, and how I feel about things. I might also give my expectations...so I may see later how those were changed by God's answer to my prayer. Since I began journaling, I am more focused on the purpose for my prayer. I may not journal my ususal requests for blessing on my family and friends, unless there is a special need.
- When I have no real burden or heartfelt purpose, I pick up an old journal and look through it, seeking places where prayers have been answered, and I scribble dates and praise in the margins. Sometimes, in my new journal, I will write about where the Lord brought me from, what he taught me, and how life is different since I first started to struggle or pray.
Jesus took his disciples to the Garden Of Gethsemane when he prayed. There he taught them how to pray, but he also taught them about a place to pray. He said that the Temple was meant to be a house of prayer for all nations, but that its keepers had made it den of theives. So he didn't go to the temple. He found his place in a garden. I have always dreamed of a hidden place tucked away in a garden to pray...and sometimes I do sit on a bench and visit with God and I am blessed just being with him. But, for the times when I really learn the value of prayer, it is whereever I am that I can take notes on the process, discover the purpose, and return to a place where I frequently find God is There.
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” Matthew 26:36
I have learned to call any place where I meet with Jesus and we go to the Father, my Gethsemane. For that reason, one of the places I journal is online. Often, what I write there is less about the prayer itself and more about what God shares, what I learned, what the word is saying to my heart. I call the blog A Garden Called Gethsemane. I don't update the graphics and modernize it...because it is a place for my comfort, not that of someone else. I don't promote it much, because it is where I go, not where God told me to have others go. However, I learned a long time ago that another sacred element to prayer is sharing it. So I put it out there, I cast the bread upon the waters so to speak. The key to prayer is to find the place, time, structure that is best suited to you, that suits your purpose, and gives you a point in time when you can say, "I met with my savoir today."
Lord deepen the experience of prayer for all of us. Make it a place or time when that experience bears fruit. In Jesus' Name, AMEN