Not all relationships are joy-filled.
Even the most important relationship of all (your relationship with God) is anything but joy-filled. I know the feeling.
Mine used to be boring, stale, and like an old dried up piece of bread. It was anything but a feast for my soul.
I’ve learned some tips along the way that got me out of the rut of praying only one way. Any joy-filled relationship can’t be rushed. You nurture it over time because you love being in that person’s presence, don’t you? It brings you joy.
Nurturing your relationship with your heavenly Father can’t be rushed either. It’s not a sprint to the finish line but like a slow meandering walk. Craving each others presence is rich and rewarding.
What’s appreciation moments have to do with finding joy again in praying
The best way I know is for you to experience appreciation moments with God for yourself.
First Part – Identify an Appreciation Moment
Highlight 3 things in your life that brings you joy.
1. Choose things that you are grateful for. (They don’t have to be “spiritual” in nature).
A friend, mentor, or a family member who means a great deal to you.
A rich and memorable experience or event that brought you joy.
A place you’ve lived (or visited) holds special meaning for you.
2. Write out each “appreciation moment”. Write just enough to help you identify it, describe the feelings you have about it, and tell why it is important to you.
3. Give each item on the list a name. Example: I called mine “Niagra Falls Moment.”
“I still remember my trip to Niagra Falls and how awestruck I was by its greatness. As I walked closer to the Falls I was able to feel their force under my feet. It was immense and left me speechless. My whole body and heart were touched by God’s creation. I call this my Niagra Falls Moment.”
Now that you remembered three things in your life that brought you joy let’s turn one of those things into an appreciation moment with God.
The first part was about practicing appreciation about any part of your life. Now the second exercise will focus on appreciation moments with God
Second – Appreciation Moments With God
15. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
16. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God,” (Colossians 3:15-16)
1. Choose one of your appreciation moments from above and let yourself feel appreciation for a full minute.
2. Now, remember some way you’ve experienced God’s presence or goodness toward you. Try to pick something that you can still reconnect emotionally with. The memory still impacts you.
I still recall appreciation moments with God and they are experiential and relational in nature. These appreciation moments are joy-filled.
Some examples to get you started with your appreciation moment with God.
- Seeing mountains, oceans, or a park creates and awareness of God’s greatness.
- Hearing music (example: “He’s Alive”) can cause you to feel close to God.
- Reading your favorite passage (Psalm 23) can draw you closer to God.
- Watching your child sleep causes wonder of how great God is.
- Meeting close friends helps you to experience the goodness of God.
- Inspiring messages can connect you to God.
3. Once you select your memory:
- Focus your mind on that experience.
- What was it like to be there? Engage not only your mind but your heart.
- Let yourself feel your appreciation for God’s goodness in that memory.
- Hold the appreciation in your heart and savor this moment with God.
It’s like putting your favorite piece of rich chocolate in your mouth and chew it a couple of times to start the melting process. Yum.
Appreciation moments with God are the same way. You savor every moment. It becomes a feast for your soul. Not something rushed but something to be enjoyed with your mind and heart.
I’m grateful for all my appreciation moments with God. They’ve enriched my life of prayer. Hope you find the same thing.