"I just don't have space in my life for prayer." How many times I have heard these words. In response to this common complaint I can only say, "Frankly, folks, I just don't think you're trying."
At Sojourners we've begun to understand more deeply our need to pray. This need has shown us that sometimes we are pathetically human. Our humanity seems to show up in our most spiritual endeavors, at precisely the places where we try furiously to leave it behind. With the hope of encouraging us all, I would like to share with you my own less-than-saintly journey toward the discipline of prayer.
I began by looking for empty spaces in my life for prayer and found, much to my surprise, that there are many:
1. Waiting for meetings to begin: At the rate of three meetings a week starting 12 minutes late each, I found that in a year I can add 31.2 hours to my prayer life.
2. Waiting for help when the car breaks down: This will happen nine times in the average Christian's life; 114 if you live in community. It often means a long stretch of time alone in the dark--prayer is not only recommended, but essential.
3. Waiting for the bathroom: This is especially fruitful because in community it usually happens several times a day. Morning is best. Before community meetings is also a convenient time: Multiply the number of people in your household by five minutes, and the total may be added to your contemplative time log.
4. Waiting at the grocery check-out counter: This will take awhile in anyone's life. If you live in a large community household in the city and it's Saturday morning and Christian compassion moves you to allow in front of you everyone who says, "What are you, feeding the cast of The Ten Commandments?" you can write this off as a day of retreat.