Monday, July 23, 2012

Ways to Pray

This year we have been focusing on spiritual growth. Our primary exercises, or disciplines for doing this have consisted of Bible reading and prayer. There are many other things that will help you grow in your faith. Do not think that these are the only methods to use in getting closer to God. However, I believe that prayer and Bible study are the most simple, universal and effective ways to enhance your relationship with God. If you will do these things, you will find your faith growing significantly and quickly.

With all of that being said, let's look at some practical approaches to prayer. I am convinced that many Christians are simply intimidated by prayer. It seems so holy, so directed at the “other” that we don't even start praying. What follows, then, is a series of solutions that are accessible and simple for anyone.

  • Pray with a journal. I often (almost daily) write my prayers. It gives me a record of what is important to me and what God is teaching me. This also keeps me focused on my prayer times. I can look in my journal and know how faithful I have been. If I am not writing my prayers, I may not be praying.
  • Memorize prayers. Everyone remembers prayers that they said as a child; “God is great,” and “Now I lay me...” But there is value in memorizing prayers as an adult. Learn and pray the Lord's Prayer or the 23rd Psalm. Make those prayers, and others, a regular part of your prayer time.
  • Use prayer reminders. Write a prayer request on a sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror, your office door or some other visible location. Every time you see the note, say a short prayer for that person.
  • Pray aloud. I often find that praying silently easily leads to mind wanderings for me. Although this is very discouraging, it is avoidable. If I am actually speaking, I tend to stay more focused.
  • Pray while you are driving (but don't close your eyes). There is a lot of driving time that is wasted. We listen to radio programs that may not be good for us and generally lose all the time we are in the car. Make your car a “prayer closet.”
  • Text message prayers. Get a friend or prayer partner that you can pray with. Use text messaging as a simple, quick and effective way to keep in touch and up to date with needs and prayer concerns. Texting gives an immediacy to your prayers.
  • Sing your prayers. Sometimes you will find that a particular song or hymn speaks exactly to the needs in your life. Sing to the Lord.

There are many more ways to pray, but you surely can find one here that will get you started on your path to a deeper relationship with God. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's Not Car Food

The advent of fast food in general, and the 'drive-thru' window in particular, has not been kind to the interior of the typical American automobile. It is not uncommon to find a missing french fry under a floor mat, or to discover that the source of that mysterious, gag-inducing smell, came from a long-forgotten Whopper that made its way under the passenger seat. I am a guilty person, but I am hoping that some of my unfortunate experiences might serve as lessons for the uninitiated. Be warned. Some foods are not intended for the car.

To begin with, let's cover the basics. If it takes more than one hand to eat, it's not car food. Keep at least one hand on the wheel at all times. Secondly, be sure that whatever you are eating while driving does not take a lot of organization. By this I mean, keep your eyes on the road. If you have to look for your food, strategize the best way to hold it, and closely monitor it's approach to and entry in your mouth, it's not car food. Finally, you should not have a buffet in the front seat of your car. Limit how many items that you plan to eat. Plan your menu based on the available table space (empty seats and/ or center console area) and cup holders.

Well, there are the ground rules. Now here are some specifics. The following are not car food.

  • Any ice cream product that does not come in a cone or on a stick.
  • Pizza.
  • Any Mexican or Chinese food.
  • Pasta.
  • Soup.