But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16
As a pastor, it has been my privilege to be financially supported so that I might give myself to the word and prayer. When it comes to prayer I still consider myself in first grade. I humbly confess my lack of prayer and lack of knowledge of prayer.
Knowing how little I know, I would still like to share two unusual ways to pray that I believe I can commend.
One of the privileges of being a pastor was that during the day, I had the church auditorium to myself. Given that benefit I would regularly spend time pacing the room asking God for things in prayer. This was not ordinary prayer, this was “crying out” to God for things that were heavy on my heart.
In pursuing the ministry of The Disciple-Making Parent, I now work out of my home. With adult children out of the home it again gives me a chance to have a private space to cry out to the Lord. If you overheard my inner thoughts that I bring before the Lord, you might call a mental health professional!
I offer this suggestion because in the intervening years when I worked out of the home I still had some children there also. Without realizing it I lost this habit of pacing prayer. And that made me realize that this lack of privacy is the norm for many Christians. With young children, a spouse, a busy job, Saturday and Sunday activities, living in the city or suburbs, actually taking time away by yourself to cry aloud to the Lord is just not a priority (or even thought about).
I get it. But I want to encourage you to figure out how to do it. The blessings of interacting with the Lord this way will encourage your soul. You are doing real work with God.
There is a different habit I have tried to cultivate over the years that is at the other end of the prayer spectrum. If one habit of pacing is actively seeking and crying out to God, the other habit is kneeling.
Scripture says that every knee will bow in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. I am just as influenced as you by the notion that I can pray anywhere in any position. And yet Scripture also says, “Come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our God our Maker” (Psalm 95:6).
I have tried on a daily basis to kneel at least once a day before the Maker of the Universe, often with an open Bible. I want to remind myself that I am a creature who willingly serves and submits to him. Can you have a humble heart and not kneel? Can you kneel with a proud heart? Of course.
But I have found kneeling does affect my soul. There is something in me that is blessed.
As a parent and as a Christian, we do our best parenting through prayer. If concern for our children doesn’t drive us to prayer, nothing will. I freely confess that when it comes to being with Christ in the school of prayer, I am still in first grade. But there are plenty more spots available. Join me!