1. Believing. This one is pretty loose in it's interpretation. You don't have to wear your Jesus Freak t-shirt or know all the words to The Lord's Prayer to start with this one. This is important because some Christians can be pretty intimidating. That threw me for awhile. Believing can start anywhere and go everywhere. Sometimes it starts as a child with an invitation to Bible School from a friend, or in a hospital room in desperation. Or just that lost feeling life throws you when you know you need a better compass than the one you can buy at REI. There are no rules about when or where the believing starts. Sometimes it comes in all crackly like a radio signal too far in the distance and gradually gets clearer as you get closer. Sometimes you turn back and lose the signal all together for awhile but you can always go back and pick it up again.
2. Just talk to Him. No rules, no pretense, no filter. The one conversation you can have like that. Geez, use it. You can have this conversation anywhere, anytime. Silently, out loud. Really loud. Going down the freeway, putting the laundry away, in the weekly staff meeting. A n y w h e r e. He's your +1, He goes everywhere with you. To give you some examples, here are some of my conversations, otherwise known as prayers.
* Seriously? This is what we're doing today? And what do you want me to do with this?
* Thank You for this ( fill in the blank). Could be a new client, found my sunglasses, best Sea Bass I've ever tasted, kids not fighting during dinner, husband home safely from a trip, kids and husband leaving me alone for the evening for some quiet time, paying the mortgage when I didn't know how or where it would come from, finding my keys before I'm late for a meeting, it's your blank, just fill it in.
Now, this is the advanced version that took me some time to get to but if you can, get there quicker. Thank Him for the challenges too. I know, I know. It's a tough one but it's a game changer. I've finally embraced that my biggest transformation comes from the tough stuff, not always the good stuff. *sigh* So, then you start to Thank Him for the challenges too, because you know He's preparing you, building you up, strengthening you.
3. Now, hand it all over. Yep, release. He's not your genie in a bottle ready to make all your dreams come true. He's your Father, teaching you, rewarding you, watching over you. I'm a parent and sometimes I've been known to let my kids have ice cream for dinner, but I don't give them everything they want, because that's not what is good for them. It's not what they need. Same goes for you and your prayers. I still tell Him what I want, but I usually follow it up with, "but You already know that". What he really wants to know is if you trust Him. I have so many examples of things in my life that were bigger than I knew to dream or ask for. His plan is always better. The road to get there might not be a familiar path. Trust Him. So when you feel ready, plant that seed of trust and faith. Water it. Feed it. Give it space to feel the sun and grow. You might try a prayer like this......
Dear Lord, wow, this life is a little whacky these days. I'm kinda tired of driving. I'm going to ask you to take over. I'm going to try really hard not to hand You my map for this trip but to trust You'll get us where You want us to go. I'll try not to backseat drive or complain about the snacks in your cooler. Maybe I'll just kick off my shoes, put my feet up on the dash, like I did when I was a kid and enjoy the ride.
This works really well with your worries, He's really clear in His Book that He's not a fan of worrying. So I actually visualize handing it over. I wish I was a cartoonist because they'd make some good ones. Me crying like a toddler, clinging to my worry and Him standing next to me tapping His foot with His Hand out. The caption would read, "That's enough, young lady, hand it over."
Or the one where I run in the room breathless from carrying this heavy burden and I burst into His room and say, "Here, take it, I just can't carry it anymore!"
Or the one I've been doing more often, where the worry comes in like a game of hot potato and I immediately pass it over to Him and He pats me on the shoulder like I've done a really good job.
Prayer used to intimidate me, like something I needed to get just right. Yes, I think you can improve upon your praying when you learn more and understand more but there are no rules on how to start. My path was to start anywhere, then to take Him everywhere, and then let Him take the lead.
4. Ask others to pray for you and with you. He digs that.
Write me about your path, I'd love to hear it. Teach me something that's been helpful to you.