As often as I have led prayer or encouraged students in prayer – you might think that I’d become totally comfortable in my own prayer life. But the sad truth is that I’ve never been much of a prayer warrior. I find myself concentrating more on not messing up than actually thinking through the words I’m saying. Prayer aids on note cards only seem to confuse me and leave me frustrated. Can I ask for supplication before I’ve adored? Was my adoration section long enough to then move to confession? What if I ask for my needs for a majority of the prayer – have I disappointed God? Are my prayers selfish? Why do my prayers sound the same even when I’m alone and not in front of a large group? My prayers lately all begin with “God, I don’t know how to pray. I’m not doing this right.”
Sybil MacBeth seems to feel similarly and writes in her book Praying in Color, “…But a short attention span and a proclivity for daydreams hamper my efforts. Five or six sentences or breaths into a well-intentioned prayer, I lose focus…. The words of my prayers and the words of my distractions collide in an unholy mess. On a good day, when words flow with more ease, I become so impressed with my successful articulation that I become the center of my own worship. It is not a reverent sight.”
I want to pray more and deeper, and I struggle with a short attention span and wondering mind. However – that doesn’t mean I write it off. I’m always on the lookout for ways to enrich and enliven my time in prayer.
Praying in Color was the perfect book for the constant doodler and list maker in me. When my thoughts wanted to wander, this book taught me how to use and focus those rabbit trails!
From the Praying in Color homepage:
Maybe you hunger to know God better. Maybe you love color. Maybe you are a visual or kinesthetic learner, a distractable or impatient soul, or a word-weary pray-er. Perhaps you struggle with a short attention span, a restless body, or a tendency to live in your head.
This new prayer form can take as little or as much time as you have or want to commit, from 15 minutes to a weekend retreat.”A new prayer form gives God an invitation and a new door to penetrate the locked cells of our hearts and minds,” explains Sybil MacBeth. “For many of us, using only words to pray reduces God by the limits of our finite words.”
Be sure to spend some time on the website and check out this unique book and method of praying. There are tons of samples and examples. Hopefully someone will get as excited about this book as I am!
Praying God’s Word has spoken to my heart in a totally different way. Through this book I learned to discipline my prayers, to pray the truth of Scripture, and to combat lies and fight strongholds. Through Scripture-prayer and chapters addressing strongholds such as pride, idolatry, temptation and more, Beth reminds us that nothing is bigger or more powerful than the Lord. Learn to pray God’s Word to break free from that which has a hold on you, so that the joy and authority of Christ may rule in your life.
AMEN! My great friend Becca summarized the book and why it should be on your shelf here. “My book is all kinds of marked with scriptures that I have prayed or that have helped me when I was struggling. I return to this book often, thankfully I have it in hardback so it can withstand all the use.”
I hope that these books and our continued discussions on prayer encourage you to approach the Throne of Grace with confidence! I push on past my own shortcomings to pray with deep hunger stirring inside of me to know the Creator of the Universe.
Prayer is our direct way to connect with Him. “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” Psalm 66:20.