My Prayer/Teen Prayer Stuck in a Rut: How to Reignite Your Prayer Life by Emily Clare Burt If there’s one thing that my silly ADHD brain has a hard time with, it’s prayer. What a great thing to have trouble with, right? However, this is a reality that everyone has difficulty with at some point. We live in a world that is so busy and loud that makes it 10x harder to quiet our minds and hearts in order to enter into prayer. Likewise, there are seasons where prayer comes so naturally and becomes a place of rest. However… there are other times when it might not be so easy. Maybe the fire has become a spark. Maybe the emotional aspects of prayer have diminished and it has rather becoming a grueling task to tick off the to-do list. Regardless of whatever season you may be in, there is always a need to rekindle, revamp, and renew prayer. Be Honest When going through a season of dryness within prayer, we can take on an element of guilt and shame; a feeling like we are not doing enough. However, our loving God wants nothing more than a mustard seed of faith and effort. There is so much hope in knowing that the little time and effort that we can offer Him, He reaps 40 fold. Likewise, God wants our honesty and authenticity. He doesn’t want us to fake it in our prayer by pretending like everything is fine and dandy with long, pretentious prayers. If you are struggling to pray, tell Him. If you feel guilty, tell Him. If you feel unworthy or even unloved, tell Him. In fact, by being openly honest with the Lord in prayer, He wants nothing more to show and prove His love to you. Now, this is important so listen to me as I say this. Your prayer does NOT need to be perfect. Again. Your prayer does not need to be perfect. In fact, by trying to present God with an extravagant and eloquent prayer (which is still beautiful, don’t get me wrong), can shift our hearts more towards what we are saying and how we say it, rather than having a conversation with our Lord. Likewise, our prayer does not always have to be deep and life-shattering. Just as Jesus is our Lord and Savior, He is also a friend. A Father. When talking with a friend, you aren’t always talking about the super-rich and deep things. Sometimes you goof off. Sometimes you talk about pointless things. As weird as it sounds, God wants to hear these things. He wants to hear about your day and the simple things you want to share with Him. This allows us to enter into our childlike faith. A faith that is so personal and close to the heart of Jesus that we want to share everything with Him… even if it’s about the really good pizza you had for lunch that day. It’s okay and truly good to make Jesus laugh sometimes. Experiment Prayer is never supposed to remain the same or stagnant. Because prayer is our direct hotline to converse with God, we would never want to have the same repetitive conversations, in the same format as Him. Prayer is meant to shape into different and beautiful forms, slowly becoming our own individual way we interact with Christ. This directly reflects our own and unique relationship with God and how He deeply desires to form a relationship with you that is unlike any other relationship. This calls for us to tap into different ways to pray and how we enter into prayer. A great starter is Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina has been a tradition formally created during the Middle Ages that allows the reader to enter into Scripture (most commonly the Gospel readings) with different perspectives and visualizations. Through the 5 steps of Lectio Divina, it calls the reader to read, pray, meditate, contemplate, and act. For me personally, I absolutely love to tune into the live Life Teen Lectio Divina on Wednesday’s on YouTube while doing chores. Not only does it allow me to enter into prayer easily, but I also am able to do laundry mindlessly, which I mean, who doesn’t want that? Another great way to enter into new forms of prayer is by doing absolutely nothing. Seriously. There are moments where God wants us to silence everything, including our words so that we can just be with Him. So many times when we feel like we have nothing to say or when prayer seems to drain us, it is Christ rather calling us to simply sit in His presence so that we may receive. However, as easy as it sounds, it is a practice that we are not used to and is much harder than it seems. Personally, I recommend having something to write on, that way, as thoughts come to your mind, you are able to write them down to remember and deal with at a later time. However, usually, when something comes to mind over and over in prayer, that might be God tugging at your heart to talk to Him about that subject, feeling, or thought. God speaks through silence, it is just our job to make the space for Him to do so. Don’t Overthink It Finally, if you don’t want your prayer life to go completely down the drain, you cannot beat yourself up over it. Just as God works through the silence, the devil works through shame. Just as God calls us to be Christ to others, He also calls us to be Christ to ourselves. This means having the patience and mercy on our own hearts to understand that we are not perfect and that our prayer life will not always be either. Mother Teresa says “ God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful.” Allow that desire for a better prayer life fuel you for greatness and drive you more towards the Lord. Do not sit and wallow in apathy, but be excited for the anticipation of sanctification. Please know that myself, as well as the other Life Teen bloggers and staff are always praying for you! You got this. Now go pray!