I’m thrilled to be doing my first guest post today, for my Renew and Refine Retreat for Writers friend, Emily Miller, over at emmillerwrites.com. I’m talking about the one spiritual practice I’ve managed to be consistent about: writing out my prayers. Regular readers of mine, I invite you to start here and click through to the rest of the post at Emily’s site. Readers who’ve come here from Emily’s site, I invite you to read this post (When Fear and Avoidance Mean You’re On the Right Track) with more details about how praying for compassion for my husband affected our marriage.
Whoever you are and however you got here — thank you for reading.
Thank you, Emily, not only for inviting me to talk about writing my prayers, but also for calling the series Spiritual Practices and not Spiritual Disciplines. I like the attitude of practice. As a spiritual director friend of mine likes to say, “That’s why we call them practices, because we’re not very good at them yet.”
I’m really not very good at being disciplined.
Ten or so years ago, I prayed through the Psalms. And then several years later, when God let me know I was acting like a child, he led me to read through the Jesus Storybook Bible. Both inspired sweet and holy times of prayer and reflection, but when each was finished, that was it; they were projects, not practices.
I’ve decided numerous times to pray every night before bed, but either the prayer would get me so charged up that I’d lose sleep or I’d fall asleep and lose prayer. Or my mind would follow one loosely connected path to another until I was in an imaginary interview with Terry Gross about the fabulous book I’d written, and prayer time lost to my daydreams of personal glory.
Determination to pray first thing in the morning was no better. It either cured the insomnia that woke me long before the alarm, or, if I managed to follow through, the children would get up earlier than I expected, and the amount of discipline it took not to snarl at them would sap my ability to stick with the prayer.
I prayed often, particularly when driving or doing laundry or awake in the middle of the night. But I resisted all attempts to be disciplined or intentional about my spiritual practices.
And then, in December 2010, a pastor friend suggested that I write my prayers down. You know, because I’m a writer. So maybe writing was meaningful to me and helped me process my world. D’oh. keep reading