Build Relationship with God: Places of Prayer

October 16, 2010

“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 I originally made the video in 2007, but remixed it (again).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!

Further reading:

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.

Prayer-walking

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.

10:02 prayer

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?

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

9 responses to Build Relationship with God: Places of Prayer

  1. I am copying over the comments left the last time I posted this video. Unfortunately, I neglected to copy my replies. Ah well.

  2. Wow, it’s a big difference in the video!
    More importantly, I like your point. I always find it easier to pray while I am walking. I can focus better. If I’m just sitting there, my mind is all over the place, or I fall asleep 🙂
    Driving is also a good place of prayer for me. Any time that my mind can kind of stop racing and I can think, then it is easier to pray.

  3. Hi Jon, the video worked great. Up close and personal there, in your hot tub. 🙂
    What helps me pray – hmm I have to quiet my heart and I usually pray in tongues for a bit. I talk to God everywhere. Singing praise songs gets me connected. I usually pray in my bedroom.

  4. I often pray
    – together with a friend while walking in the woods
    – in my parked car while waiting to pick up kids (with my Bible for inspiration, and printed-out requests from missionary friends – which goes along with your thought of praying for something bigger than myself)
    – in my bed (sitting up!)
    – in our “library” upstairs in our house, with the door shut (“the upper room” 🙂 )
    – at an overlook with a view of Lake Zurich (& the alps on a good day)
    …and sometimes in my German classroom after the other students and teacher have left!

  5. Thankfully I am a morning person and my wife isn’t; so I get to have the living room to myself for awhile. That’s where my body likes to be in preparation to meet with God. Getting my mind right at this point involves not limiting God to meeting our needs, but magnifying Him in relation to His eternal purpose-in this way I can momentarily stand on the mountain where God is central instead.
    Once my mind is somewhat anchored, divinely assisted by mercy, grace and nothing more than the sheer intension to want to be with God “where He is”, I begin to quietly, gently and lovingly turn inward, away from myself, unto Him. Some mornings it’s hit or miss because I’m so scattered. But a “hit” to me is when I come away from experiencing God with something that is of Him; something that alters my perception of the people, places and things around me that day; something that helps me forget to sin against God and others the way I would normally sin.
    The fruit of a relationship with God is when we become more like Him. On such rare occasions we find ourselves loving more than we are loved, trusting more than we are trusted, and giving more than we’ve been given. That’s a good day.

  6. Wow Katherine, you have a lot of places! But it sounds more like you are a person of prayer at all times and places. I really like the idea of using time in a parked car that would otherwise be spent doing… what?
    Praying in bed hasn’t worked too well for me. I think you just nailed why! 🙂

  7. Julio,
    Thanks for your description of how you prepare yourself, then turn your heart, and what can result. Love it! This is the kind of thing that we really need to step up to, practice, and teach.

  8. I actually love to do prayer walks also! I have found that it’s a great way to get away from distractions and noise and just go pray. Most of the time I end up praying at night, so many times the stars and the sky seem to help me still myself. Glad I found your blog!

  9. Thanks, Matthew! I don’t usually prayer-walk at night, but I did the other night. I prayed using Mark 1:9 — “At that time Jesus came”, but I turned it into this prayer for my neighbors, and my own family: “At this time, Jesus come.”