Prayer life experiment

A few years ago, the men’s small group I was in decided to do a book study for a change of pace. The book that we did was called Soul Revolution by John Burke. The main theme of this book is how all too often in life we do not stay connected to the Source of all life. We may pray in the morning or before we go to bed but as we go through the day we forget about God. We try to do things on our own or just don’t talk to God about what is going on in life.

So the book encourages its readers to do an experiment, the experiment is called 60/60 (or 60 for 60). What this does is encourage us to be connected with God and build a normal attitude of talking to God and taking things to God on a consistent basis. It follows the verse of: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV). So what 60 for 60 does is encourage the reader every 60 minutes to talk to God for 60 days and see how your life and relationship with god changes.

One of the main themes is to be connected to God, to ask Him what He is saying and be open to the way He is moving in us. It is about reminding ourselves who God is. It’s not about praying to God all these things we need Him to do the next hour, even though you can, but it is more about reminding ourselves who God is and being open and willing to His guidance or moving in us.

Before I started this experiment, I had a pretty regular prayer life with God and would talk to Him throughout the day. It was more of a “God, I need this” or do this or help these people or whatever. He has really blessed me with an attitude of prayer. This can also cause me problems due to my nature which I will get to shortly. What this experiment did though was that it caused me to have an intentional time of prayer every hour and remind myself of who God is or His truths or what he is leading me to do. The experiment doesn’t require the person to pray for a certain length of time or say certain words but just set aside a moment and think of God, thank God, focus on Him, stay connected and build that dependency on Him.

This experiment happened over two years ago now and I still do it to this day. Thankfully, a friend of mine just let me know there is now an app available to download (I know it’s available for iPhone, not sure on other platforms). This app will send me an alert every hour and it has a verse and sometimes an encouraging word to guide the user with what to focus on this hour.

The reason that I mention this book and app is because God has really been working in my prayer life recently. It is something that I have been praying about and need so much help with. So it is amazing how God has reminded me that we “do not have because we do not ask.” I am thankful He has answered this prayer. One of the biggest problems I have that I eluded to earlier is that I struggle with making things into a very legalistic or ritualistic practice. So, when I pray and would do these prayers every 60 minutes, I turned it into my needs and what I want. I made it about me. Now I am not saying it’s bad to ask God for things. God obviously knows our needs and what is weighing on us and wants us to talk to Him. The problem was (and still is) that instead of focusing on God, adoring Him and giving Him a chance to speak, I was the one who did all the talking and I would fall into the same prayers. A sense of guilt would come over me if I didn’t pray a certain request or thing and honestly it is still a struggle. I would forget that He already knows my request and I wouldn’t have a conversation with Him. I was the one who did all the talking. I never listened. The joy of prayer, the power of prayer and the beauty of talking to God was lost. But God was listening and knew my needs, specifically with my prayer life and relationship with Him.

Over the last few months, God has changed me. One of the first things I do with my morning prayer is just read His Word and try to listen to what He has to say. I want to give Him a chance to talk. I went through the Psalms and tried to apply the George Muller principle of praying the Psalms. Sometimes I was successful, sometimes not. But it is all a daily work in progress.

Then this past weekend, God once again reminded me about prayer. That yes, it’s okay to ask God for things we need, but to examine our prayer life because our prayers are a great look into who we think God is and what we think about Him. If all our prayers are just about the things we need and a series of request, then our view of God is more of a genie or even something like a “sugar-daddy”. But, when we pray, if we stop to listen and think of Him and be reminded of His attributes, then just how much that helps us focus on Him and be reminded of who He is and who we are. It helps us remember that this is one of the greatest gifts He gave us and because of Christ we can enter the throne room with confidence. Prayer isn’t something to take lightly but what an awesome gift and treasure it is to talk to the Almighty.

So, as God has been working in me, He has had to remind me of the prayer that Jesus taught us to say. Jesus started with the adoration of God, His holiness and how His Will and ways are perfect and good and we want His Will, not ours. So as we pray, may we pray adoring and being reminded of God, focusing on Him, desiring His will and just be constantly connected with our Father who desires a relationship with us. Praise God for that and His great mercy!