In the fall of 2014, I decided that I wanted to focus on a spiritual goal for the year 2015. I wanted something that would increase my personal relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ and that would give me courage and direction for what I needed to do in 2015. I gave it a great deal of thought. I did some serious ‘knee time.”
Then in late September I read a short article, meant for youth, about how to have more effective prayers. I have been praying for over 67 years but there was a new idea in the article. It said to make a list before you pray. Yup, think about your prayer and actually write stuff down before you pray.
This idea sunk deep into my heart and I determined that I would do this every morning. I have prayers at night too but I am usually tired so I save this for my morning prayer.
I think about what I want to pray about and I make a list. When I am praying I open my eyes occasionally and look at the list so I don’t forget anything important. This is what the list looks like:
• What I am grateful for
• Thoughts and actions that I need to repent from
• People I want to pray for
• My own concerns and desires, both spiritual and temporal
What Has CHANGED
• The first thing I noticed was that it took some time to ponder and get input from the Spirit as I made my list each morning or sometimes weekly.
• The second thing I noticed was that the depth of my prayer and the time it took changed. The Spirit is much stronger, I am moved more often and my prayers have gone from a few minutes to…well sometimes, pretty lengthy. I have gone from talking “to” God to talking “with” God. It has become more of a conversation. I talk, I listen, I feel and then He talks to me.
• What I mean by He talks to me, is the third thing I have noticed. I get impressions about things that I need to do during the day. Sometimes it’s for me, concerning the desires or problems that I have. Sometimes it’s something that I need to do or say to someone I prayed for. Now I always have a notebook and pen when I pray so that I can capture my thoughts and then follow through as quickly as possible. The minute the impression comes I write it down, yes, right in the middle of the prayer. : )
The whole process takes more time. I have had to get up a bit earlier. But the results have been quite remarkable. Here is what I have experienced:
• I have more peace even when a day gets out of my control
• I have many more impressions for my own life that make the day flow well. Turn here, don’t do that, why not do this, try this….and on and on. I think what has actually changed is my ability to hear the Spirit. I have probably always had this many impressions to help me in my day but I haven’t heard them. Now the time I spend in reflection and prayer in the morning seems to have opened my “spiritual” ears.
• As I follow these impressions my day goes better. My positive results are increased. I feel supported and, frankly, deeply loved.
I hope that there is something here that will sink into your heart and that in the New Year will change your life. If there is it is a gift to you from me. I am still using this tool for more effective prayer three years later and it is still working.
If you have a terrific plan for the new year, if you have a spiritual goal or a kindness goal, or any goal for that matter, why not share it with us so that we can all be edified and grow together.
Here’s to more joy,
I WILL BE SPEAKING at the Winter Homeschool Conference on January 27, 2018 in Layton, Utah. This conference is designed to support and rejuvenate home educating parents who want to thrive, not just survive the homeschooling experience. You don’t have to be currently homeschooling to attend! I will be speaking on Process vs Outcome. Knowing the Difference Can Change Your Family. If the topic resonates with you I would love to have you join me.