Men: Lead at Home (5)

Praying can be hard.  I could list some reasons but the bottom line is that it is really easy to suck at praying.  Knowing that, I’m trying to be more intentional with my personal prayer time (early in the morning) as well as praying with my wife and praying with my kids.  If you’re like me, praying by yourself comes most naturally (even if you’re not completely satisfied with it), praying with your wife is hard for some reason (or nearly non-existent), and praying with your kids becomes more of a routine than a time to connect with God.

In order to add some structure and keep some perspective, I created a document (okay…it’s a spreadsheet – nerdism revealed) to lay out specific things I want and need to pray about throughout the week.  My categories are as follows:

  • God
  • Me
  • Meg
  • Iris
  • Lydia
  • Family in General
  • Church Planting
  • People
  • Seminary/Study
  • Life

Basically, I map out each of the above categories and pray something different in each category, each day of the week.  For example, some of the things I pray over on Tuesdays:

  • Meg: Praying over specific areas that Meg asks me to (from Monday night discussions).
  • Iris and Lydia: Praying for them to come to know God and to surrender their lives to Him.
  • Seminary/Study: Praying that I would be engaging God in my studies, and not simply building up and accumulating knowledge.

Using this list, I add structure to my personal morning prayer time and keep it somewhat focused.  When my mind starts wandering to the things I have to do that day, or to other random thoughts, I can come back to the list and keep marching forward with my prayers.  If I don’t hit all of my categories during my morning prayer time, I take the list with me and use it throughout my day.

As far family is concerned, I give my wife a copy of my list so that she can pray through similar categories on the same day if she chooses.  We then also pray together at night.  For praying together at night, we try to do whatever is most effective, least contrived, and the least rushed.  Sometimes that means praying together after we put the girls to bed.  Other times we wait to pray together until we’re in bed.  Sure, we still skip or miss nights, but the point is that we’ve thought it out, talked about it, agreed on it, and are trying hard to cultivate this into our life as a discipline.  Having a list and an intentional, individual prayer time makes for a more effective together prayer time as it can serve as an extension of the things we’re already praying about individually.

Tomorrow I’ll post on how we pray together as a family and some ways in which we’re seeking to improve that.  To conclude this post, I feel compelled to say that prayer is not something we have to do, it is something we get to do.  As sinners saved by grace, we do not pray every day/night to better our position with God, but rather to widen our hearts for the receipt of God’s blessings – seeking that his will be done.  Being a great pray-er does not set you right with God.  Trusting (by faith, through grace) in Jesus’ completed work on the cross does.  Don’t miss that or you’ll end up beating yourself down when your prayer life sucks…and everyone’s does from time to time.

To the men out there: make time to pray.  Make time to pray on your own and be intentional about it.  Pray over your relationship to God.  Pray over your wife and kids.  Pray over your family as a whole.  Pray over others around you  (believers and non).  Pray over your job, your church, areas of ministry in which you serve.  Also – don’t just pray for your wife, but also pray with your wife.  Make this a priority and cultivate the discipline of prayer in your life and the life of your family.

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~ by toddbumgarner on February 24, 2009 12:34 pm.

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