Tips to Make Time to Pray inspired by Bishop Steven Croft, Oxford
Remember the 3Ps for prayer: Pick a time, Prioritise it and Protect it.
Establishing a habit is key. In Bishop Steven's case, starting the day with prayer before anything else has had time to interrupt him, guarantees it happens. Crucially, he doesn't look at time-stealing technology until after this time.
So what's your favourite time for praying: early morning, sundown, midnight? What else might that conflict with? What routines or commitments could you change to protect that time?
Accept that making time to pray will take a little sacrifice.
Things worth doing are rarely handed to us on a plate. Bishop Steven goes on to say that, to ensure his morning prayer happens:
'Often it means getting up a little (well quite a lot) earlier than I would otherwise rise.'
Could you go for a prayer walk in your lunch hour instead of eating at your desk? (OK, so not much of a sacrifice unless it's raining!). Or swap your half hour TV soap for something more 'real' in the form of prayer?
Here is a useful tip: focusing on how you will feel after praying helps get over the pain when you think about what you're missing.
Create a ritual 'bridge' to help create a daily prayer time.
When people are changing their behaviour, such as starting running to get fitter, the advice is to create a ritual, such as changing into running gear and trainers as soon as you get home. This creates a 'bridge' to your activity, making it more likely to happen.
Bishop Steven's bridge from sleep to prayer is brewing his early morning coffee. He went on to explain how important this simple act is:
'It's a little ritual, you can't go straight from sleep to prayer, there needs to be something in between, and the little ritual of going downstairs into the kitchen, and putting the coffee maker on and making a cup of coffee, is the bridge and then going into the place I have to pray, is all a kind of step which helps me to settle into prayer. 'At the heart of the Christian faith is friendship with God, and I love the idea of just sitting down and having a cup of coffee with the Lord first thing in the morning.'
What a wonderful picture: sharing a coffee with the Lord. It makes prayer seem so inviting, suddenly less of a test and more of a treat.
So what's your ritual bridge? Maybe it's putting on a favourite piece of music or lacing up your walking boots?
Pray in the same place.
Where you pray can really impact whether you pray. Bishop Steven has a place for prayer in his home, and you can do the same.
It doesn't necessarily mean setting somewhere aside for prayer, it just means choosing a space where you feel comfortable and can be undisturbed. Of course, it's a bonus if it has a beautiful or inspiring view, but you could always decorate it with inspiring pictures or words instead.
Please join us for the Circuit Service at Steeple Claydon on Sunday 23rd October 6pm where we will discover more about our prayer patterns
love and prayers Revd Sara