When I was little I would pray now and then but usually when I felt desperate or when I was in a jam. Like when my friend and I were doing donuts on the ice in our high school parking lot and she slid her car into my dad's Gremlin. Yes...there was actually a car called the Gremlin ! I remember jumping out of the car and saying to my friend Terry Wagner  " You and I don't tell the truth about how this happened ...ever !!! I don't care if we are 35 years old and each have five kids....we never tell ! " She readily agreed and we both went home that day telling our parents that the dents in our cars were just there when we walked out of the school...no one left a note or anything....how rude !!!  I have to confess that I didn't live up to that promise that I made to my friend because during the last few months of my dad's life when he was dying of cancer, I fessed up. That's right - I told him about the " donut disaster" if you will. He chuckled , laughed hard in fact and all was well. I knew that it wouldn't have been a laughing matter way back when I was seventeen yrs old though, hence my decision to lie....and then pray. I distinctly remember praying very hard that night while lying in bed that I would not get caught, would not be found out. It was the typical " pray in a jam " prayer, not to mention it was skewed from the start considering that I was asking God to protect my lie. How goofy is that ?

Back then I was lost. I thought about God, about Jesus, about heaven and hell very seldom and when I did it was usually at Christmas and Easter. God was an abstact being way above the clouds who wasn't really interested in me personally and that was that.

My senior year of college all of that changed. I felt an emptiness, a void, a longing to know if there was more to our seventy or eighty years on this earth or if this is all there was. That searching of mine led me to a series of events which culminated in me kneeling down one day in that little college apartment of Tom's and mine and trusting Christ personally as my Savior. At that point, prayer became a whole new ball game for me.

Prayer simply became a conversation between me and my God, me and My Savior, me and my friend. I learned that I could talk over everything with Him....my concerns, my hurts, my struggles, my fears, my joys, my triumphs. He was always there . He still is . That time with God is POWERFUL. Yet if that is the case, why do we neglect it ? Even though I knew that I was saved, that I now had this new relationship with the one true God of the universe , I was still sporadic at times in meeting with Him and discussing everything with Him. Why is that ?

Here is the reason - because not only is it powerful , but it is hard. We cannot visually see God's face across from us as we pour our hearts out to Him. We cannot hug Him. We cannot physically cry on His shoulder. Yet HE IS THERE , always listening, always desiring us to talk over everything with Him.

I often say that I got a serious prayer life once I had teenagers. It is true. I wish that I could say that I had a concentrated, deep, long, ongoing, rich prayer life way before that but I can honestly look back and question whether I did. However, the teen years have a way of driving parents to their knees ...which after all is the best place to be anyway. This is also the same time period that I began to learn first hand exactly how powerful prayer can be. I cannot even begin to count the many, many prayers that God has answered for my children. Sometimes He answered in the exact way that I desired, and sometimes His answer was much different, but it always, always was the best and right answer when it came from Him.

When we feel like our prayer life is lacking power , here are some helpful tips -

` PRAY OUT LOUD -  ( that's right...out loud. You may feel silly at first doing this but it has helped me tremendously in not letting my thoughts wander and my mind from being distracted. When I would pray silently just in my thoughts, it would go something like this..." Lord, please help me to be a better testimony for you when I am behind the wheel because you know how frustrated I get while driving " and my next thought was " Like the idiot I was behind yesterday coming out of the grocery store parking lot " , then my next thought was " DId I remember to get milk yesterday at the store ?" ..and my next thought was " Because I need some for that recipe I was going to make " and on and on and you get the picture - within one minute I am no longer praying but just thinking goofy, mundane thoughts - which I'm good at.

TRY TO HAVE A SET TIME EACH DAY - this doesn't need to be set in stone and the earth isn't going to shatter if your schedule on certain days prevents you from doing so, but in general, having the same time each day set aside for praying and talking over things with God is helpful.

TRY TO HAVE A CERTAIN LOCATION -  Whether it is your favorite arm chair in the living room, or at your desk, or perhaps at your office before you start your day, it is helpful to have a constant location where you meet with God. This doesn't have to be a hard and fast rule, but it goes a long way when attempting to make prayer a habit. I don't suggest your bed while you are laying down as your location - for obvious reasons...so prayer time doesn't soon turn into snoring time.

The Power of Prayer .....it is not just a cliche !
 It is real, genuine, authentic
 It is also hard.

 It is also possible - with a plan and a desire.
 Just like anything else, anything that is worth it is not easy.
 Prayer is no exception.

 Take time to talk it over with God today.
 He is waiting for you.
 Don't stand Him up.

 Or will you ?