Let’s be honest – we all find prayer difficult at some point in our lives, and for many different reasons.
If you were like me, you were brought up in a church where great value was placed on how long you prayed for in a morning – to rise early and spend at least 30 minutes with God. (Subtext to that – “but an hour makes you a better Christian”)
To be honest, some of us just don’t have the concentration to cope with praying for 30 minutes at a time (especially in the morning). And it’s not just those with ADHD!
There are some who can do all this – but I suspect that it’s often more due to personality than it is to being an uber-amazing Christian. It’s at this point I usually get shouts of ‘Heretic – burn her’! (Or the modern-day evangelical equivalent)
I totally agree that without prayer and without time to study God’s word our faith would just sink. It is vital to our survival.
But if you have one of many chronic illnesses, it can be quite hard to do what well meaning Christian teachers tell us we should do.
There are many conditions that make first thing in the morning the worst time to pray and read, there are conditions that make concentration hard too – at any time of day.
For example, one of the conditions I have has an associated problem that can affect concentration, memory, the ability to put sentences together and being able to remember exactly what you were saying by halfway through that sentence. You can blank out very quickly too! This is worse first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
I’ve chatted to others with similar issues who not only struggle with quiet times/prayer, but also the guilt laid on them because they can’t ‘do prayer like they’re supposed to’. They are adults, teenagers and children. For many children and young people with additional needs, praying at length in a morning on a school day when stress levels are already high is going to be hard. They just don’t have the emotional energy – and I know God understands that.
The truth is, over many years the ‘church’ has added to the rules of praying. We’ve put these rules on to new Christians and our children for all the best intentions – we want to make sure the habit of prayer is formed early.
It’s a great aspiration!
But we forget the God has made us all with different personalities and abilities and not all of us can follow this prescribed way of praying.
I was really helped by a comment by a friend in my home group. He said “Prayer is about my relationship with God, not what I ask for”. If we pray, and our relationship with God grows, does it really matter how we get there?
Maybe in a morning the best thing for us is to have something to touch and hold – just for a moment. Something that reminds us of God’s presence with us. And as we touch or hold – say a simple thankyou to God for a new day and ask for His help to be like Jesus as we head into our day.
And maybe I need to write some prayers that would help people do that! Edit – I have – you can find a couple of Prayers for Foggy Brains here