I struggle in finding a consistent time to pray. I have tried many times to be a morning pray-er...it is unsuccessful. When I am not consistent in it, I begin to feel as if I am failing at prayer. This has been devastating to me as I truly want to turn to God in prayer the right way. In the past I have found myself discouraged because of my inability to wake up in the morning and start my day, every day, with prayer. This week I have been reading through Roberta C Bondi's book 'To Pray & To Love.' As I read through her chapter on how we approach prayer, I was drawn to her statement that "prayer is an expression of each person's relationship to God" and because of this, "there is no one right way to pray." It is ok that I am not a morning prayer. I felt freed by Bondi's idea that "we need to cultivate the discipline of giving up violence to the self in exchange for God's gentleness" and when we do, we will see our prayer relationship grow exponentially. As I accept that my prayer life is not going to look like anyone else's, I am able to fully engage in the relationship God calls me to. As Abba Poemen tells us, just like a slow and steady drip of water can wear away at a stone, a slow and steady prayer life will wear away at the hardness of our heart and allow God further and further into our being.
My life is noisy. Two children and 800 square feet of living space; Music playing, TV on, children singing, children arguing, rooster crowing, neighbors working on cars, children drumming, humming, buzzing, cars, podcasts and phone ringing. This noise makes silence seem impossible. In my search for silence with God I have found that either late at night, walks outside or alone in the bath are the places I can have quiet. Even then, that is not always the case. The other day I went for a walk and half way through my children joined me on their bikes unexpectedly. Silence was gone. As much as I love my family, the constant noice they produce makes the search for times of silence an ongoing process. What I have realized about this process is that as I am searching for silence to hear God, I am searching with God. When my children come into the bathroom to exclaim some very important thing or try and get me to break up an argument all while I am trying to find silence with God in the tub, or when I am out on a walk and 15 minutes in they come riding up behind me on their bikes all smiles and giggles and shouting...God is with me and when he sees them he is not angry because my time with him was cut short. Rather, he is generous and loving and kind. He knows I will be back.
I encourage you to find your prayer time with God, wherever it may be and whatever it may look like. Do not compare it to someone else. Your prayer relationship with God will be just as unique as God has created you to be and therefore, unlike anyone else's.