Prayer has always been difficult for me. Sometimes I feel on. Sometimes I feel off. Sometimes I can feel the presence of the Lord. Sometimes I feel like I am talking to nothingness.
But prayer is something I want to get better at doing.
I am currently reading Timothy Keller’s book on prayer, and in the book, Keller says he can “think of nothing great that is also easy. Prayer must be, then, one of the hardest things in the world.” Amen.
I think we can get better at prayer, and I think it takes quite a bit of practice, going through the motions even when things do feel off. A few years ago, when I was feeling especially in a rut, I started prayer walking.
What is prayer walking? To me, it’s a focused effort to pray specifically while out walking or exercising.
A few years ago, I was walking my dog on a regular hour-long route in our neighborhood many days. I decided I wanted to try to pray as I walked, but kept getting distracted, so I set up a little “prayer routine” as I walked to help me along. I decided there were certain things I wanted to pray over - my husband, our jobs, our church, our neighbors, family members - you get the picture. I made a little list, and then divided up the different prayer topics while walking. From Hillcrest Street to Townes Street, I’d pray for my husband. From Townes Street to Buist Avenue, I’d pray for our church…and so on and so on.
It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but after a few walks, I knew what I was supposed to be praying over on each street, and it kept me really on target.
The different streets became so ingrained in my mind that when someone I would meet would tell me she lived on Mountainview Ave., I’d automatically think: “you mean, Prayer for my Job Avenue?” It was funny.
Prayer walking is a little different, but really helped me to practice prayer free from distraction, in a fairly purposeful way. It also translates easily to walking on a track (each time around you pray for something different) or on a treadmill (change prayer topics after so much time).
Do you pray when you exercise? If so, how do you keep your mind focused?
Make sure to check out some more prayer tips!