“Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship” is a popular catch phrase of evangelicals. But Christianity often looks very religious to me, and not very relational. In North America in particular, there is pressure to conform and perform, pressure to set mission statements and achieve them and go go go. Prayer is treated as a list of agenda items.
But if you’ve ever been in love, you know the magic of just being with someone and not having to say anything. And if you’ve ever had a long-lasting relationship, you know the importance of getting away and spending regular time together.
Let’s recover spiritual prayer as a way to build relationship with God. There are various practical ways to do this. I’ve already shared a Bible meditation technique called Lectio Divina with you. Here are some other steps:
- Discover and establish “places of prayer.” These are locations or physical activities that you share with God. They become special places for “just us” time together.
- Prayer-walk your neighborhood. It’s like going for a walk with a friend, just to take in the surroundings and talk about anything interesting you see along the way. Ask God to give you his eyes.
- Pray for something larger than your own needs. Spiritual prayer does not have to be directionless. But how often do we set down our prayer lists and ask, “Lord, what are your dreams?” I use a 10:02 alarm to remind me to pray Luke 10:2.
This short video introduces you to these practices, as I show you my places of prayer. I originally made the video in 2007, but remixed it (again). And while the hot tub continued to be a special place for honest relationship with God, prayer-walking the neighborhood and 10:02 prayer stopped. But now they’re back. I feel myself awakening again to a desire to be less of a driven person and more of a deep person.
I’d love to hear about your places of prayer, or physical activities like prayer-walking, or any other things you’ve found helpful. How are you moving from religion to relationship, from asking/doing to listening/being? Please share below!
I’ve transcribed this video for people who prefer to read.
“Places of Prayer” transcript
So the question we’re interacting with this week at The Journey is, “How do you connect with God?” And for me, it’s prayer. And one of the main things that helps me pray is having places — places that become places of prayer for me.
One of these places is my walk through the neighborhood. I don’t usually choose these places ahead of time. Actually, I can’t think of ever choosing a place. It happens when I’m at that place, and I pray. And then I go back to that place again — I just happen to — and I pray again. Then, it’s like whenever I go back there, it puts me into a frame of prayer already. It’s very helpful for me.
So my neighborhood walk is one place I have. I also have a place at work. Every day, my cell phone goes off at 10:02am, and reminds me to pray Luke 10:2 — about God being a mission God, and inviting me, and all of us, on the mission. And I pray that every day on a specific walk through my workplace. So that’s become my place that helps me pray.
Hot tub prayer
So when I started making this video, I didn’t realize that I have three places of prayer: one in the neighborhood, one at work, and one at home.
What helps you get into a heart-position of prayer? Where are your places?