You know it works. I know it works.
God definitely knows it works.
So why don't we spend more time in prayer or make a higher priority of it?
I think that sometimes we don't know how to pray or where to begin our prayers. We wonder what it is exactly that we are supposed to talk to God about.
And after every devotional on the whole internet tells us how uber-important our prayer life is, its easy to feel like we're failing at it. Like we aren't praying often enough, deeply enough, sincerely enough, honestly enough, holy'y enough. It isn't long before we start feeling like prayer is too mystical of a practice for our feeble, little souls.
But let's get clear on something important here:
The only One listening to our prayers can see the very deepest and darkest parts of us, and He loves us anyway. Every single thing that touches your heart also touches God's heart. And those are the things you should pray about.
See - that was easy! Now go forth and pray!
Gee, thanks Danielle...that was really practical advice...
I'm just kidding - we aren't quite done yet. I am going to share something with you that my pastor shared with me. It is a great way to begin a prayer practice and once you begin praying this way, your heart will open up all on its own into even further fellowship with the Lord.
So grab a sheet of paper and trace your left hand.
Yes, I am serious. We are going back to kindergarten here, like we're making a turkey for Thanksgiving's art project. Trace that hand like you're doing it for Jesus! (See what I did there?)
On the thumb, write "Those closest to you...loved ones".
On the index finger, write "Leaders".
On the middle finger, write "Enemies". (You are allowed to laugh at that.)
On the ring finger, write "The weak".
On the pinky finger, write "Myself".
This is an easy-to-remember guide that you will always have with you. And now that you've traced your hand and written the words, the memory is set in your mind and your left hand is now your prayer guide.
As you look at your hand, you notice your thumb is nearest to your body. So you remember to pray for those nearest to you...those close to you, your family, friends, loved ones.
Your index finger is the pointer...the guide, so you remember to pray for the leaders in your life. You pray for your boss, your pastor, your political leaders, your children's teachers and administrators, etc.
Your middle finger is an obvious one....remember to pray for your enemies. Back when my pastor was an intern, his senior pastor told him to do this because you cannot be angry with someone at the same time you are praying blessings over them. And by golly, he was right!
Your ring finger (and if you're a musician, you may know this) is the weakest of all your fingers. It has a hard time moving independently and is simply not as strong as the others. This reminds you to pray for the weak, those in need, the abused, the orphaned, the homeless, our brothers and sisters battling disease, and others you may think of. (This is the time when I always start crying and my prayer gets really long.)
Your pinky finger, the one that is least and last, reminds you to pray for yourself and to serve others with the gift of prayer before you serve yourself with it. And when you pray for yourselves, give thanks and praise to God, count your blessings, and present your heart and your petitions to God from there.
I promise that He is listening and can't wait to talk to you.
Cute side story:
The "praying for your enemies" thing made a big impact on my life and my pastor who shared all of this with me knows all about that. My parents were married in the late seventies at the same church I go to now. So I brought a picture of the wedding at the old campus from all those years ago thinking my pastor would get a kick out of it. He half-gasped and half-laughed...turns out the pastor who married my parents was the very same person who told my pastor that we can't be angry with someone while praying blessings over them.
One piece of wisdom shared 35 years ago ended up changing my life, and the very man who passed it along was the one who brought my mom and dad together before God. That's what you call a lollipop moment....
If you are reading this post, please know that you are now in my prayers. I am praying that this tool touches your life and that you find more connected time with the Lord by using it. I am praying for your walk with God and the deepening of your prayer life.