Making More Time for Prayer
In January, I established three New Year’s resolutions for myself I wanted to exercise three times a week, to read six books for personal growth and to pray more regularly.
I am not really a resolution type of girl. I don’t remember ever setting a New Year’s resolution before. But this year, I knew that I had to prioritize myself. Over the past few years, somehow amid parenting and family life, I let my passions go by the wayside.
I used to be an avid gym goer. I was even a personal trainer at one point in my twenties. But somehow, after my second child and returning to work, I let my health and well-being take a back seat.
But since January, I have been working out at least four days a week, and I am also doing active things in my free time with my family. Hiking, swimming and walking my son to school instead of driving, when the weather is good.
I also used to love to read for personal growth. I love learning and because I haven’t had time to read for pleasure… I have felt a little stagnant over the last few years.
But so far, this year I have already read six books, and I have a few more months to go. After reading the book, Purposeful Parenting, I participated in a coaching program with the author Tyra Lane Kingsland. Through her encouragement, I have been living life with more purpose and intention. Tyra helped me to move out of my comfort zone, and she challenged me to take steps towards greater freedom in my life.
My third virtual book club begins next week. This is something I never imagined myself doing because I am not that tech savvy. But it has been such an exciting journey. I feel such a greater sense of fulfillment in my life for taking that risk.
Last week, I took some time to reflect on my progress. I realized that while I have made significant improvements with my first two goals, I had neglected my third goal—to pray more.
My faith is important to me, but I haven’t been setting apart time to strengthen it.
I continue to make excuses like: I am too tired, I don’t know where to begin, or I don’t feel any different afterward.
While reflecting on this goal, I suddenly felt a sense of heaviness. Prayer used to be such an integral part of my life. It filled me with such strength and peace. So what changed?
I asked myself some tough questions:
Why am I avoiding it?
What am I afraid of? Not hearing anything…. not having control.
What is it about the silence that makes me feel uncomfortable?
So, I decided to sit with these uncomfortable feelings and I started to journal. This is what came out.
“Peace is so foreign to me that it feels uncomfortable. In the chaos, I can hide. In the chaos, I can avoid addressing the pain in my heart.”
Then I asked God why my heart feels so heavy.
And here is what I felt like he responded with.
“You are afraid, afraid of what you think I am going to ask you to do. You think I am going to ask you to do more… to sacrifice more of yourself. I see you. I know you are exhausted. I come to give, not to take.”
Wow! I was blown away. I hadn’t realized that at the core I was viewing prayer as an obligation, and my faith as a burden.
Of course, I was avoiding it. As a busy mom, the thought of one more thing on my plate at the end of the day overwhelmed me with anxiety. But how amazing is this revelation that God sees me and knows what I am going through.
What I didn’t realize was that my fear was holding me back from experiencing more peace in my life. But I had to face it, sit with it, and explore the depths of it, to really understand it.
So, what do I do now? How do I get back in the habit of prayer again? Where do I begin?
Baby steps. This past week I have been setting apart maybe fifteen minutes before bed for prayer. Some days I make a list of ten things I’m grateful for. Some days I just listen. And other days I read the Bible.
I am starting over, but it’s a good thing.
And maybe prayer will look a little different than it did when I was young and single. Maybe really at every stage of life it will be a little different.
I have a few more months to get my rhythm back until next January and another year of resolutions. I am excited about what new heights I will reach by allowing myself time to commune with God, my source of strength.