toward application / prayer block

Matter: “You’ve heard of writer’s block. I often feel like I have a mental block when it comes to prayer.”

Means: Reverse the flow of your thoughts and call in some reinforcements. That is, instead of trying to mentally “come up with something,” let your body’s physical senses “bring you something.” As for the reinforcements, summon up some imagination and creativity. Be unafraid to “play” a bit with how you pray.

Try this: close your your eyes and concentrate solely on identifying all the sounds you hear. Let each of those individual sounds serve as prompts for subjects or trajectories of prayer for you to explore.

For example, as I sit outside I can often hear the sounds of traffic. That prompts me to pray for the variety of people in those vehicles. That can lead me to pray with thankfulness to our Father for all of the occupants of those vehicles, for their being given the gift of life and the privilege of another day. That can stimulate me to ask God for the safety of them all as they interact on the road. And how about all of the households of which they are a part? May truly healthy and happy attitudes and relationships flourish in those families and in the lives of all the people whom they are connected. Etc., etc., etc.

Practice such “extension of awareness” with all of the other sounds you identify. Do you hear a bird? Let such prompt you in prayer regarding the witness of, and praise to, God by all of the natural world/creation. Do you hear a siren or a life-flight helicopter? Allow such to lead your mind to pray for first-responders of all kinds, everywhere, and all whom they seek to aid.

Have fun and build in some imagination, too. (Incidentally, this is a great way to include children in your prayers, for they are often naturally-inclined toward such.) For example, let each barking dog you hear stir you to talk with God about all the complainers you know in life … as well as about your own wrestling with “barking” and complaining that you give and/or receive. (To prompt a child with you, ask them, “What do you think that dog is saying with their barking?”) Tie memories of specific, relevant Scriptures in with your prayers (e.g. – Philippians 2.14-15).

All of this works for all of your other physical senses, of course (i.e. – sight, smell, taste, touch). Vary your surroundings and work through your senses. You will likely find what you pray about, and how you pray, refreshed and revitalized.