An Excerpt from John Ortberg's book, “The Life You've Always Wanted.“
A Review of Prayer
Sometimes people fail to learn more about prayer because they don't reflect on what actually happens when the pray. This is an exercise to help us to learn to pray.
Think of this as what we might do after a visit with a good friend. We spend a few moments alone and think about our time together. We recall moments when we felt especially close or perhaps moments when there was conflict or confusion. We remember saying something that feels unfinished or needs to be resolved. We are grateful for the time we were able to spend with that friend.
Here is how you might review your prayer:
- Take three or four minutes after you have finished praying to reflect on the prayer. This is not part of the prayer, but a separate exercise.
- How did the prayer get started? Were you aware of God's presence or was there a sense that you were thinking by yourself?
- Did any parts of the prayer seem especially “alive” as you prayed? Did you have times of strong convictions or emotion, and if so, what were they? Did they seem to moving you closer to God or farther away?
- What difficulties did you encounter? Did you feel tired or bored/ Did you find your mind wandering, and if so, to what? What were you praying over when this happened? How did you respond?
- Did you have any sense of being called to respond or carry out some action? If so, what was it/
- What was the general “tone” of your; prayer: warm and loving? difficult or painful? dark? reassuring? sobering? foggy?
Write down the results of the review, as that can help you learn from your prayers over time.