Last January, I declared 2012 my year of prayer. And I made some strides toward being more prayerful last year: I began praying the Psalms each day (I’ve prayed through the whole Psalter twice in the past six months); I continued to update and pray over the names on my prayer window; I kept up a steady stream of gratitude prayers, writing many of them down (I’ve listed over 3,000 gifts in the three years since I undertook this discipline); and I experimented with praying Scripture and other blessings over my children at times beyond bedtime, like before they leave for a class or a playdate.
But despite continuing to practice my accustomed prayer disciplines and adding a few more to the mix, I know I have a long way to go—to grow—in learning to pray, in living a life of prayer.
Then, too, some time around August, I got distracted from my year of prayer and stopped growing, just sort of coasted on autopilot for a few months. Oh, I still prayed in the ways that had come to be habits, but I wasn’t stretching myself. Sometimes we need to rest on the rails of habit; that’s why we create habits in the first place: so they can sustain us when life starts to pull in too many different directions. But I’ve had a nice long rest, and now I’m ready to start stretching again.
Which is why I’ve decided that 2013 is going to be my second year of prayer. Who knows? This may become an annual thing.
For now, it means a commitment to:
- read four books on prayer this year,
- blog once a month about something in those books that has me thinking and/or praying in new ways,
- choose one new-to-me prayer practice to embrace each month, and
- blog the end of each month about that practice and my experience of it.
My first book on prayer will be Eugene Peterson’s Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer. I will be drawing the monthly prayer practices from Return to Our Senses: Reimagining How We Pray, a new book by Christine Sine. This month’s prayer practice will be blessing the water, mostly because I am heartily sick of rain, and I want to practice giving thanks for this precious resource that is in abundant supply in my life.
My hope (and prayer) this year is that as I grow a little (or maybe a lot?) deeper into prayer, I will also grow closer to Christ. After all, that’s the whole point of prayer, isn’t it?, to become ever more deeply rooted and grounded in God. And that’s what I want, to send down deep roots so that I can lead a life fully pleasing to the Lord, bearing fruit worthy of the Gospel.