I’ve tried the notebooks. Tried the journals. Tried the ‘Christian version’ of daily planners with nifty boxes for ongoing prayers. I tried the prayer closet, using an actual walk-in closet made available when our daughter left home.
Then I forgot to write in my notebooks. I went days without journaling and felt guilty for my lack of discipline. The daily planner was good … when I remembered where I left it. The prayer closet worked well until the comfort of the cool dark room made it more of a nap closet; always startling to wake up in a prayer.
Over time I realized most personal prayer in my life happened with eyes wide open, while driving, before entering a room, before (sometimes in!) meetings, walking, on my bike, on the treadmill, in the shower, in the quiet of the early dark morning, while the rest of the house is asleep and I can hear my own breathing.
It seems prayer became more real to me the more I prayed. Sometimes those prayers were behind closed doors in quiet spaces. Sometimes they were prayers in parking lots, short bursts calling upon God to help me understand why I couldn’t break through a personal problem. Sometimes they are quiet, interior hopes lofted towards God during the last song before I preach His Word: “O God, be more than me and my preparation. You must be more than me, because I am not nearly enough!”
Here’s my suggestion. Rather then feel guilty about how much you don’t pray, or how poorly: PRAY.
The energy you use berating yourself for your prayerlessness is energy wasted. Talk to God. Share with Him everything. Hold nothing back. Thank Him for the joys and wonders of your life. Plead with Him, intensely, for any area of your life. You may not receive immediate “answers.” After a while, though, you may begin to get some hints of understanding, or acceptance or (who knows?) renewal.
Above all else: pray.