The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Pray all ways

Where do you sense God's presence?

It’s that time of year again—the turn of the calendar year when we feel compelled to look at our lives, find ourselves wanting and make a bunch of resolutions that we know (if we’re being honest) we won’t keep. Often that’s because the resolutions we make include self-criticism: they’re basically negative.

After the usual list that includes losing weight, exercising more and quitting smoking, many of us decide we ought to pray more faithfully. If you’re among those who think they should pay more attention to God in their lives, and especially if you’ve made this resolution before, perhaps a couple of simple changes could help you keep it this time.

Photo by Michael D. Watson First of all, in your resolution let go of the words “ought” and “should” and those that are critical. Rather, make one that is positive. Instead of resolving that you ought to pray more, decide to respond to God’s love by being as present as possible to that relationship. Secondly, consider some adjustments to your prayer life, or lack thereof. Maybe the kind of prayer you’re trying to practice isn’t right for you.

You might relate to a friend who complained to me that her daily prayer practice wasn’t “working.” She read the morning and evening prayer services, known as the “daily offices,” but wasn’t feeling very connected to God using this practice, even though she knew it had been valuable to generations of Christians.

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