Prayer Appointments: Going Deeper in Prayer

The prayer spoke in my wheel has been short since the day my oldest was born. I used to journal for hours on end and could actually sit for long periods of time with my eyes closed and not fall asleep. I’ve coped in various ways, but extended times of prayer continue to elude me.

When I say “extended time in prayer” – I mean the kind of prayer where deeply buried feelings, ideas, concerns, and themes bubble up to the surface. The kind of prayer where sin, regret, and confusion are dragged into the light.

I understand that part of my struggle is my season of life and the age of my kids, as well as my lack of discipline and short attention span. There are many factors – none of which will be resolved any time soon. In the meantime, I know I need it. I can’t go months on end without communing with the Lord on a deeper level.

It’s why I make prayer appointments.

I have a few friends who know how hard this is for me. They know I need to come with my little list of issues that are rattling around in my mind and sit with them and pray. They know I need to be in their homes because my laundry piles distract me. They know I need to externally process a little before we figure out what to pray about first. They know I’ll probably cry, but not because I’m sad, but because I’m relieved to finally have my heart still for a moment before Him. They know they can’t pray about their stuff.

It’s a big ask. It takes a special kind of person. It’s an act of spiritual generosity. It’s a necessary step outside of my comfort zone.

It’s outside of my comfort zone because I’m a thousand times more comfortable wading into other people’s thoughts and concerns. It’s part of my training to dig and press and lean into issues of the heart for other people. After over a decade on staff, I almost can’t help myself – students, friends, strangers – I’ll know their deepest struggles before they know my name.

But my own heart – my own needs – I can leave those unattended for long stretches of time and that’s why those prayer appointments are necessary. It’s as if my worries, unconfessed sin, needs, and hopes accumulate in the closet under the stairs. If I’m lucky, I’ll recognize the door is starting to bulge out a little – it usually comes out in the form of a sharp word or a sleepless night.

But sometimes – it busts open in a deluge of spiritual fatigue, anxiety, guilt, and fear.

Those times are fewer and farther between when I’ve made the effort to pray with my close friends and to let those issues come into the light with their help.

James 5:16
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

I use the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s prayer as scaffolding for my daily time in prayer which have served me well in recent years.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
But I also keep a note card with words, sketches, fears, scripture that keeps resurfacing, questions and practical needs written on it. That’s the note card I bring with me when I pray with someone else. It reminds me of things that are a little deeper down that I should try and pray about. It helps me lengthen that “prayer spoke” just a little bit more.
Are you getting into the nitty gritty with the Lord in prayer these days or is your journal filled with grocery lists and crayon doodles like mine? What would it look like for you to ask someone in your life to give you the space and time to pray this way?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s