Yesterday I began a short series of posts that encourage the practice of praying throughout the day. I find that many of us can start well, but that the pace and busyness of life can drown out the voice of God that was ringing in our ears earlier in the morning when we read his word. We are so busy taking care of business that we forget that for all of our planning and productivity is wholly dependent on our sovereign God. How can we cultivate and maintain the practice of prayer throughout our days? One way to help is to schedule interruptions, or set appointments with God.
Schedule Appointments with God
This is a simple discipline that takes little time, is easy to carry out, and yields great benefit. I encourage people to schedule 2 to 3 daily appointments that are static. The times are less important that keeping them regular. You may want to set up these appointments at 9:30am (after getting settled in your job), 12:45pm (after lunch), and 4:30pm (before heading home after work). The point is find good times to have a brief meetings with God during the day.
These meetings should be brief, concentrated times of prayer. There is no one way to do this, so here are some ideas.
Use a prayer book like The Valley of Vision. I've already blogged about it, but I developed a prayer guide to use in connection with the Valley of Vision for this discipline of scheduleing appointments with God during weekdays. You can read about the process and download the guide for free here.
Use the Psalms. The Psalms are very useful in guiding us in prayer through a variety of theological/experiential emphases.
Pray extemporaneously. That just means that your praying is impromptu. Pray through where you are, and what is on your heart and min at that moment.
You can fill these appointments with various kinds of praying. What is important is getting into the habit of meeting with God. To make the most of these appointments I would suggest that you:
1) Keep it short.
2) Use reminders so as to not miss these appointments (text or email alerts, your calendar, have your spouse call and remind you - whatever you need to do).
3) Try it for a season. Do this for one month, and see how it helps. Persevere for the season you have committed to even if you miss a few. Keep in mind that these keeping these appointments is not the goal. The goal is to establish the practice of prayer throughout the day. These appointments are simply one means of learning to pray.