Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
Mindfulness is a favourite tool to cope with modern-day life and stress. This is recommended from school to boardroom as a helpful way to maintain mental and physical health. I see that it is simply repackaging what God has always taught humanity, which is we are to centre ourselves in God and focus upon the now rather than seeking to manage all of our worries about tomorrow.
For the Christian this means engaging in prayer. I work with a diverse group of individuals, all Christians, who usually approach me with concerns about their prayer life. Have you noticed that one of the most common confessions across a cup of coffee after church or in home group is “I don’t pray enough”? The work of defining what “enough” looks like is seldom done. There is just a general feeling shared by many that whatever I do simply cannot be sufficient.
However, one of the joys of following Jesus is that I am treated by God as a unique individual – personality, gift and calling all included. No external voice can dictate my prayer life. This is an arena I must enter and discover on my own initiative. Of course, there is scripture to encourage me and a library of books offering different individuals’ experiences and the principles they have embraced. Where helpful I may use them, but they do not offer any guarantee of success.
Prayer is a personal journey with God. The ancient saying “Pray as you can, not as you can’t” perhaps offers the best summary of how to pray. If your prayer fails to offer you peace, then maybe you need to rethink the whole enterprise.
If you struggle with prayer, start your day with the Lord’s Prayer, the only prayer Jesus taught.
Turn to Matthew 6:9-13 and pray the Lord’s Prayer.