I've always found prayer really, really hard.
Not the praying itself, exactly. I've got the words and the needs and the requests. It's remembering to pray that's difficult. I can remember during my devotions, but then I close my Bible and the day starts going and life happens, and suddenly it's the end of the day and I'm like, "When did I pray?"
That's why implementing one new practice is slowly changing and shaping my prayer life to help me pray more.
It's setting alarms.
That sounds supremely undramatic, unmystical, and unexciting, but I'll tell you — it works. Right now I'm using this plan to pray through three prayers in The Valley of Vision every day. I pray the first prayer with my devotions around 8AM. Then my next alarm goes off at noon, and the third one goes off at 3PM. When the alarm buzzes, I stop what I'm doing (if at all possible) and go pray. It doesn't take more than a few minutes.
But this practice is doing something special. It's creating rhythms of prayer in my day. It's forming a habit. And it's making me more attune to praying throughout the day.
Prayer is one of the most sacred and precious privileges God has given his children. Yet we treat it as a burden and chore, something to check off the list, something to do as little as possible. We find it boring, bland, and painful. It's a gift, and we act like it's a curse.
I do that, and I hate that, so I'm trying to change. Alarms are helping.
Even more, I'm starting to cherish these times, to snatch this rest and breath from a busy day as holy interruptions. These are boosts to my productivity, not drains. They make me happier, humbler, more peaceful, more thoughtful, and more grateful.
They also make me more eternally-minded. When I'm replying to emails and interacting on social media and writing, I feel clogged in the moment. Life is what's happening right now, today. But pausing to pray reminds me that this isn't all there is. This life is a blip and a dot, and eternity is coming. That means eternity is worth living for.
So I'm praying — or trying to pray; rather, learning to pray. And that's changing everything.