I have never been a good pray-er.
Sure I talk to God all day long – in the car, in the shower, on my yoga mat, randomly in the middle of the day when I want to yell at my children.
But I have never been good at the formal, standard, kneel at your bed, and say morning and evening prayers.
My knees hurt or I fall asleep or my mind wanders in the middle of the prayer and I forget that I am even praying or I can’t think of anything to say. And part of me is just lazy. I have been known to lay in bed, roll to my side, bend my knees, and count that as kneeling.
And because I am not great at praying and don’t have personal prayer as a strong habit, I haven’t done the best job helping my children gain their own habits of personal prayer either.
So I am working on that, and I came up with 2 ways to help me improve my personal prayers and my children’s personal prayers.
My first idea is about scheduling time.
Whenever you have a goal or a desire, it is important to create a matrix to support what you want. I want to say personal prayers and I want my children to say personal prayers so I decided to piggyback off of an already established and successful family habit- Family Scripture Power.
We are already diligent about doing Family Scripture Power so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. I just need to use this matrix that is already in place.
Since we always END Family Scripture Power with Family Prayer after that prayer is finished, we are all going to just stay on our knees and say our own personal prayers. All of us – at the same time – in the living room together. Even mom and dad. We will do the same thing at the end of Family Devotional every night also.
I know that goes against what we traditionally think of personal prayer. You know the kneeling by the bed image we all have in our head, but I think our variation will work for us.
I told the kids we would all finish at different times at that was okay. When they are finished with their prayers, they are to quietly get up and start their morning or evening routines. They are to be respectful and quiet for those that are still praying.
I like this idea because there is success in numbers and in example and in family routine. The kids will see Chad and I praying every morning and they will see each other praying as well.
Although I talked to the kids about my idea at our last family meeting, this morning is our first run at it. I know it will take a few weeks to get it down as every habit does. But I am hopeful we have created a matrix that will facilitate personal prayer for all of our family members.
My second prayer idea is about my old, forgetful brain.
This idea came to me in November or December when lots of my friends and family were struggling with death, divorce, sickness, unemployment, etc. And I couldn’t remember everyone that needed my prayers. I feel disingenuous if I tell people “Hugs and prayers” or “I’ll be praying for you” and then I actually don’t pray for them because I forgot. Or I only pray for them for a week because then I move on to the next group that needs help.
All day long I think about all these things I should pray about- everything from my children’s struggles to my own personal struggles to all that I am grateful for. But when I “kneel” down at night, my mind goes blank.
Anyway, I came up with the idea of a prayer notebook — a place where I could record people that need prayers, things I am grateful for, and the desires of my own heart. We get to put people’s names on a prayer roll in the temple. Why couldn’t I do it in my own home?
It helped that I found the cutest notebook ever at TJ Maxx Home Goods. It is natural with gold stripes and I love that it is a different shape than any other notebook I had. It is long and skinny and looks like I think a prayer roll would look.
I took my darling find as approval from God on my idea 🙂 He knew I would care what my notebook looked like.
I opened it up and started recording.
Both of these ideas have not been tested yet. They are new and in the developing and tweaking phases, but I am excited for their possibilities. And I think I have found some real solutions to my prayer problems.
Maybe I will become a great pray-er afterall!