I’m not the type of person who gets caught up in formality. I tend to want life to be straightforward and simple when possible. I try not to make simple things complex and I look at my faith simply. I believe that faith is simple at its core. When you believe in something to the point that you base your life on it you had better know what you believe and why and if it isn’t simple then you run the risk of your faith loosing its purpose in the business of life.
For me I support my faith my several simple practices: I spend time talking to God, I spend time listening to God, and I spend time expressing to others what I believe. I believe that if something is important to us that we will connect ourselves to it and want to know more about it and want to share it.
You can name the topic and find someone that is passionate about it. The people that are really passionate about Pro-Football, for example, know the player’s names, the stats, the game times, the owner’s names, the coaches names, and about anything that you want to know about their last game. It’s funny no matter how much they may stink up the field they know their team and support them.
As a Jesus follower I have developed several ways that work for me to know the stats and know my team, and definitely, know the team owner and coach. Prayer is a perfect way to get familiar with God. Sounds kind of funny to say but it doesn’t hurt to start simply.
In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson is a really good book that has stretched me a little more about prayer and an interesting way to pray. It really has to do with daily prayer and the praying from prayer books or prayer journals and including scripture. Now to be honest this is not how I was raised to pray. It has always been about talking to God normally to let him know my struggles and needs and to throw in a few needs from people I know or family. It’s pretty selfish most of the time.
Robert Benson talks about praying the Daily Office. I know it sounds pretty fancy but to be honest it is designed to make certain times a day that we pray and to direct our prayers to be more about God, our relationship with him, and the reshaping of our selfish needs into knowing that God is in control and our faith in him is key.
He talks about praying as the early Christians did. He encourages the reader to try praying during a fixed-hour prayer. It is simply a structure where we can live in continuous awareness of God’s presence and reality.
He encourages us to learn what the apostle Paul meant when he encouraged the Thessalonian church to “pray without ceasing, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
The Ancient Practices is a new eight-book series from Thomas Nelson Publishers that covers the seven essential spiritual disciplines. I highly encourage you to read this book and think about making your prayer life more than just a few seconds of prayer before drifting off to sleep each night.