Prayer isn’t always easy.
I want to address a real problem that people often feel when they pray: prayer frustration. The frustration comes in knowing that you should know how to pray but not really feeling like it’s working or connecting. So we stop praying or say something quickly but then feel guilty that “it wasn’t enough.”
This. Is. Okay.
It is normal. And if it doesn’t happen I’d have an entirely different set of questions. You should be frustrated or feel inadequate. You are! No one is adequate enough to talk to God. No one has “the right” words to say. The beauty of God is that He shows us grace and says, “I don’t care that you’re not worthy. My grace is enough.”
However, God doesn’t want that “prayer frustration” to get in the way of being with Him through prayer. Here are a few things that I do, to get over the frustration.
Different approaches to prayer:
Prayer walk. My prayers don’t get any more linguistically beautiful when I go on a prayer walk but I connect to God on a different level when I’m outside. And the basic movement of my body allows me to love God with my whole self. On a prayer walk I embody the prayer. I’m grateful for God’s creation. And my mind has a sense of completion when the walk is over.
Prayer drawings. I started doing this after reading Sybil MacBeth’s “Praying in Color.” The practice allows my mind to focus on what or who I’m praying for but also opens up a new area of creativity in my mind. Drawing produces positive brain chemistry like Serotonin, Endorphins, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine. Your brain stem can actually get thicker. Prayer drawings can change your brain for the better. I recently started doing these on my iPad. It makes it easier to keep the drawings in one place and be able to go back and look at how God answered those prayers. They aren’t anything that would hang in a museum. I write what I’m praying for and then draw different shapes around that to represent different parts of that prayer. Here you see I’m praying for the Pandemic but the triangles are different people, the squares are our leaders (state and national), the circles are some of the healthcare workers I know, the dots are the trinity, and the squiggles are the amens.
Prayer journal. I don’t keep a separate journal for this. I have a life journal/planner that I have with me at all times. It’s a place for “a-ha” moments, my to do list, great quotes I hear, and my prayer list. The beauty of a prayer journal is to be able to see the progression over time (the lack of progress is often part of our frustration). God responds but sometimes we forget to look for it because we aren’t aware of God’s timing. The journal helps us to remember. And it connects you to the people you are praying for by keeping track of them.
These methods trick your brain into feeling like you’ve completed something. And you have. You’ve spend time with our Creator. And nothing could be more beautiful.
Until Everyone Hears,