Today we welcome the newest contributor for Under the Cover of Prayer, Jen Cudmore. Jen is an author who lives in Alaska (somewhere my hubby and I want to visit some day). Please make her feel at home with us.
Prayer: Where do I start? 4 Tips for those who feel inadequate
by Jen Cudmore
Have your found the concept of prayer daunting? There are so many people to pray for: immediate family, extended family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, coworkers, church leaders, government leaders. Not to mention, the individual items to cover for each person; health, trials, financial security, spiritual growth, family matters, leadership skills, parenting skills, marriage skills, and so much more. Then you still have to pray for the issues in your own life.
How on earth is one person to cover it all? Argh!
I remember sitting down to pray in my dorm at college and wondering where to start. Often my mind went blank, and I couldn’t think of what to say: “Lord, please bless this person, keep your hand on them, um, watch over them, oh and guide them in your will . . .”
Or, I’d be overwhelmed with the issues that needed to be covered: “Lord, bless their marriage, home, children, job, ministry, health and” -gasp for air- “make them change this bad habit.” And I wanted to pray for things that were relevant for each situation, not general prayers that sounded lazy or selfish prayers of what I thought the person needed.
Now I see I was making it much too complicated.
Prayer should not be a chore.
Because I felt so lost, I decided to study more about the concept of prayer. When I first married, I bought a couple books on how to pray for my spouse and my children. These resources set a foundation for expansion in my prayer life. Over time I learned more and wasn’t so overwhelmed and confused.
As an author, the written word speaks powerfully to me, and it appears most authors are this way. So I took what I learned, compiled a list for myself, and began to use it as a basis for my daily prayer time. In a year’s time, my list grew to 5 pages. (Starting this month, I’ll be sharing some of them on my blog every Wednesday, just a short post of 4-6 sentences. I’d love for you to stop by and be encouraged!)
So, if you feel inadequate when it comes to prayer, I suggest 4 tips for developing a consistent prayer life:
1) Study the example of Christian leaders. Buy books on prayer and begin practicing. Talk with leaders in your church. Review prayers from people in the Bible.
2) Understand it will take time to grow. We all start off small, and it’s okay to admit if you feel inadequate. God is patient and He knows within time you’ll become a mighty prayer warrior!
3) Ask God to give you discernment . How you pray for each item/person on your list will be different depending on the various seasons of your life and those you’re lifting up.
4) Start writing down your prayers. This way you won’t have to jog your memory. After a while the right words/phrases will come naturally. Just don’t let them become rigid and ritualistic – use them as a guide to get you started.
Jen grew up on the Columbia River Gorge and currently lives in Alaska with her husband, two children, two boxers, and two cats. Her goal is to write novels that encourage women to look for positive qualities in a life partner, and to foster an environment of real romance, rather than fantasy, as they grow old with their spouse. For more, visit her website at http://www.jencudmore.com/. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.