Finding Your Prayer Ritual

img_80815:00 am wake-up call.  Take shower.  Put on clothes.  Take dog out to use the bathroom.  Put on make-up.  Say good-bye to husband as he walks out the door anywhere between 5:30-6:00 am.  Dry my hair.  Fix my breakfast.  Fix my kids lunches.  Feed dog.  Read my Bible.  Pray.  Wake up kids.  Read Bible some more.  Yell at kids to get up again.  Take out dog so he won’t poop in the house.  One kid up and going.  Yell at other one again.  Fix kids hair.  Listen to them complain about not wanting to get up and go to school.  Fix their breakfast.  Remind them to brush their teeth.  Yell again because one kid is still complaining. Get in the car.  Drive to school.  Pray with kids before they are dropped off, asking God to forgive us for yelling and complaining so much.  Tell kids I love them.  Drop them off at school.  Go to work (or to workout depending on day).

That is my morning ritual.  And it’s usually a crazy one at that.  It often involves a lot of yelling, but only because that one child just won’t get out of bed.  But by the time we get in the car, all is well.  My mornings are filled with a hurriedness that I don’t like.  And I get up at 5:00 am so you think 2 1/2 hours is enough time to get it all done before we walk out the door.  I try to get stuff done the night before if I can, but sometimes I forget or I’m just too tired from the day’s activities.

I’ll be honest, though, the one thing that has gotten pushed further down on my morning ritual list is my time with God.  I get so stressed about getting out the door that I run around like a chicken with my head cut off and I often times cut short the one thing that matters the most.

In chapter 13 of The Circle Maker, Mark says:  “One important dimension of prayer is finding your own ritual, your own routines (page 159).

I have gotten distracted by those things that don’t matter.  I need to find my prayer ritual again.

Some of you may be asking why in the world do you need a prayer ritual.  Just sit and spend time with God and pray.  And while all of that is great, the one thing that helps me is having a focus; things to make sure I do while I spend time with God.  This includes reading the Bible, reading devotions, praying, singing, and keeping a prayer journal.  And while I don’t do each of these every time (due to one of many excuses), I actually long to do all of them.

I am using the First Five App by Proverbs 31 Ministries.  I love this app because we study a book of the Bible and 1 chapter from the Bible that day.  I make sure to read the Scripture first and then read the devotion that P31 Ministries writes.  Combining those two helps me dig deeper into his Word and learn more about Him.

Another part of my prayer ritual involves singing.  I love being able to put in my earbuds and belt out a praise song.  Of course, I can’t really do that at home early in the morning with everyone asleep, but I can sing softly for sure. I love the times I spend with Him when I do get those brief few minutes to myself and can sing loudly.  Those are some pretty awesome worship moments with the Lord.

And of course, prayer is a must for a prayer ritual.  I learned a good way to pray when I was a child and I use this method when I spend my quiet time with God.  It’s the acronym ACTS:  Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

Adoration…Show God how much you adore Him and give Him praise.  Confession….spilling your heart to the Lord and seeking forgiveness of your sins.  Thanksgiving….giving God thanks for the many blessings He has provided you with.  And Supplication…lifting up all others in prayer before you lift up yourself.  Using the ACTS formula has helped me stay focused and made me excited and wanting a desire to spend time with God daily.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking….rituals aren’t good because they can become remote and you can lose your heart and desire to want to serve and worship Him.  And that’s why every now and then, switching up your normal ritual and doing a new thing is a good idea.  That might include changing your space (I love quiet times with the Lord in our sanctuary or outside), reading a new book of the Bible, reading a new devotion, reading new books, praying in a new posture, singing different songs.

Batterson discusses Daniel and his routine of prayer each day (page 141).  Once Daniel had heard of the new law of no one being able to pray to God, he found his new prayer ritual.  He decided to pray three times a day with the windows wide open.  He didn’t care who would see him.  He just knew and believed that he was following what the Lord wanted him to do.

What is your prayer ritual?  Do you have one and need to resurrect it?  Or do you need to start with a brand new prayer ritual?  Whatever the case, God longs to spend time with you.  Do you long to spend this same time with God?

Journal Questions

  1. Read Daniel 6.  Why do you think Daniel continued to pray even though it was against the law?
  2. What is one thing you need to do more of in your prayer time with God?
  3. What are some of the rituals you have every day? How does this distract you?

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