A few weeks ago I heard someone say that they don’t schedule their prayers, i.e. they don’t pray in the morning & then in the night, but rather they just pray whenever, at whatever point during the day & speak very candidly and openly with Him. And I found it interesting, because we’re taught to be routine in our spiritual lives. You pray & devote in the morning & evening, you go to church on Sabbath (or Sunday), at church you sit & listen to the welcome, the scripture, praise & worship, the sermon, the altar call, the benediction, then the week starts all over again & your routine starts all over again. The thing with routine though, is that for some of us, it can get boring very quickly. The meaning behind what you’re doing begins to lose value and just becomes a formula.
I’m an odd nut. I like routine but I don’t. Routine is comfortable and familiar. The routine of going to work/school and doing things is something I crave, but on the flip side I love spontaneity. I like getting up and going, I like trying new things, I like breaking routine. I’m probably in some kind of dangerous middle ground. There are aspects of my spiritual routine that I get bored with quite quickly, e.g. morning prayer & devotion. My nighttime prayers have always been “stronger”, more potent, more intimate, they’ve always felt like I’m actually talking to God. Morning prayers are rarely every like that, they’re rushed (even if I have nowhere to go), they’re formulaic – give thanks & request protection – and often probably meaningless. I say them because I feel like I should shout Him out for seeing me through the night, y’know?
Something I’ve learnt though is that formula becomes redundant in serious times. There was a time when I used to wait until night to pray, or only read my Bible in the morning. There was a time when my prayer was only a spoken conversation, singing/music/writing didn’t feature in any way. But since things have gotten incredibly real for me, my spiritual life has taken some correct turns. I’ve been listening to words of songs & really focussing on them, and realising that what I’m singing is a prayer. I’m finding meaning in these words that I took for granted before. I’m realising that David wrote all those songs & poems for God, he may have sung some of them, but he definitely wrote them & they were prayers!
Nowadays, I sing to pray, I write to pray, I speak – regardless of how I do it, I pray & the words are loaded with meaning & sincerity.
It’s important for us to be careful of our spiritual lives being regulated by others, people who say you have to speak to God this way, & you have to worship that way. The most important thing (but not the only thing) is how genuine the worship/prayer/devotion is. Find what works best for you and measure it according to what God requires – if it works for the both of you then so be it.