Lately I’ve been practicing “morning devotionals.” This means I’m working on revamping my prayer time to move from rote prayers or vocalizing a list of requests to shoot God’s way, and instead just talking to Him. I read that the best prayer warriors can pray for hours without ceasing or getting distracted because their prayers are intensely personal. In the same way that I can talk to a close friend for hours with absolutely no concept of time, these people can pray. I want to be like that.

So I’m undergoing an effort to be more personal – more real – with God. My prayer time in the morning often ends in praying for other people or for situations, but the first half hour or so is spent in gratitude for things the previous day, letting God examine my heart and thoughts so I can confess any sin from the day before, laying my day before Him, and telling Him how I’m doing, what I’m struggling with, and what I need from Him most.

A lot of times, it goes like this:

“Hey. Oof. I’m tired. I feel exhausted to my core. Like I don’t have anything else in me. I need a fresh supply of YOU today, Lord. Please fill me up from my toes to my head, Holy Spirit. Give me your strength and encouragement because I don’t have it in me.”

Sometimes, it goes like this:

“Well, I’d be doing great if [fill in the blank] was better. I can’t believe [whatever] happened. That was so [discouraging/disappointing]. I’m at the end of my rope. Can you please fix it??? I’m stuck and losing hope. What do you want me to do? (2 second pause) Okay, well you let me know if you think of something (I need to work more on the listening part of prayer). In the meantime, I’ll wait on you. Oh, waiting. It’s so hard!!!”

But one time – this week – the FIRST time – it went like this:

“Hey! Well, I’m doing really well! I’m really hap… [wait – before I say that, let me run down the list of things that usually cause me great distress: work, marriage, kids, church, friends, family, finances, spiritual progress/setbacks…]. Yep, I’m really happy! It’s not all perfect, but I see You at work in all of it and I trust You that it’s all going to work out great. So I don’t need to worry, fear, or complain. Yep, I’m happy!!! Thank you, Lord!!!”