An issue I have struggled with my entire life, but really want to get better at is my prayer life. I'm wondering how you guys pray. My biggest problem with my prayer life is that my mind seems to wander. I have issues that I want to pray about, but find myself on my knees thinking about my workday, or something else that just doesn't matter. I just can't seem to focus. I have tried praying at night, or in the morning before work and it just doesn't seem to matter.
It is a discipline, but well worth the effort. Several things to note: 1. Pick a time 2. Pick a place 3. Make it a scheduled appointment 4. Begin by meditating on Scripture- the Psalms are good to get in the right mind set.
Usually, if we follow the Lord's Prayer pattern, we begin by expressing our praise of who God is. Next, we reflect on who we are, quickly followed by our specific request for cleansing- notice I said cleansing, not forgiveness. If we are saved, we are forgiven, and that is all sins- past, present, and future, however, we need daily cleansing- a tuneup and renewal of our HMS- heavenly mind set. Then we are ready to offer up requests that are in line with the will of God. It isn't gimme, gimme, gimme- it is what is meant by: if we ask for anything according to His will, we shall receive our requests." Follow with thanks and praise, and you have a pretty good template for prayer. Of course, this is just a starting point. Eventually, you will want to add additional time to allow the Spirit to simply speak to your heart in words too deep for expression, but to begin, that is kind of abstract and unfocused.
5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.[a]' 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Ask, Seek, Knock
7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.