I've had a similar kind of thought about prayer lately. Someone asked me what my prayer life is like and about my 'quiet times'. The fact is, I don't really do 'quiet times' and haven't for quite a while but I do have plenty of times that are quiet if you know what I mean... probably not! What I mean is that I talk to God when I feel like it and the thing is... I feel like it quite a lot! I do talk to God a lot each day and bring my thoughts and feelings to him as often as I can. But I don't organise these times or plan them necessarily. Sometimes that can be useful and if I or one of my mates spots that my relationship with God seems to be slipping in some way then a new habit or structure might be useful to help change me a bit. But as it is (and I'm way from perfect!) I feel like organised quiet times would quite honestly get in the way of my relationship with God! Me and God talk regularly. I pray and I read his word in the Bible but these days it's more like a natural thing than something I make myself do.
I realise very quickly that all this sounds very arrogant and like I think I've got some kind of special sorted relationship with God that means I don't need to prepare anything or have any special time for prayer etc but if you know me, I hope you'll know that I'm not an arrogant person and neither am I a perfect person!!! Anyone who knows me will know enough of my secrets and failings to know that I struggle with sin as much as anyone and God has a lot of work yet to do on me to make me into the person he wants me to be. I guess my point is that although the process is a lifelong one, nonetheless it is happening slowly but surely, bit by bit. And it's encouraging.
Here's some possibly useful questions to think about...
- How would you describe your relationship with God?
- How effective are your patterns of listening to him by reading the Bible and in other ways?
- How much do you choose to share with him in prayer?
- How might certain patterns or structures of prayer and Bible study help you at the moment?
- How might they hold you back or make you miss the point?