Do you ever feel like you are a failure at prayer? I sure do.
Here is how many of my prayers go: “O Lord, um, well, you know a lot is going on right now. I am feeling kind of….did I turn off the oven?…I’m sure I did…Didn’t I?…O sorry, where was I…O, right…I am feeling kind of…wait, eggs, that’s what I need to remember to get today…eggs, eggs, eggs…don’t forget…eggs...so, I’m feeling kind of…maybe I should write that down, I always forget things when I don’t write them down…no, I’ll remember…so again…I’m feeling kind of…is my neighbor really mowing his lawn now? At this hour? Really? How can anyone concentrate…ack! I’m praying…OK…so God, I’m feeling kind of…kind of…preoccupied.”
Sound familiar? A lot of us have spiritual ADD. We want to talk with God, we want to listen to God, but there is so much going on in our heads that we have trouble clearing our minds and having what we consider a prayerful time. And if you are like me, in such times you can feel like a prayer failure.
At Living Waters we are learning that this is no “right” way to pray; indeed, there are many ways to pray and some of them will fit us better than others.
Sometimes prayer can be quiet and calm and meditative. But there are prayers that involve movement and walking. There are prayers that involve looking at something (a picture or an icon). There are prayers that use music or other sounds. It’s all a matter of finding what works for you.
The other day I was talking with a friend who has been a Christian all her life. She confessed that she too has spiritual ADD. And for much of her life she felt bad about this, even inferior compared to other believers. But over the past number of years, she has learned that this is who she is; this is how God created her. And so instead of fighting it and feeling bad, she has embraced this about herself and has found ways to grow spiritually that fit her personality and her style. Because of that shift, her spiritual life has become much richer.
No one is a failure at prayer.
It’s just a matter of realizing who you are and finding a style of prayer that works for you.