Not just as a pastor, but as a Christian, one of my top priorities must be intentionally nurturing my soul, looking after my inner life with God. After all, the tumultuous world around me depends on me being the best witness I can to the grace and justice of God first in every circumstance. While there is a variety of spiritual habits through which I can care for my soul, none is more important than the rhythm of daily prayer. It affects every part of my day--every relationship, every task for work, every challenge, etc. If you've ever tried to build a consistent rhythm of prayer into your life, you'll know what I mean when I say that it changes everything. The trouble with a consistent prayer life, however, is that many of us--including me--need help. I need help in learning to hear God speak.
My recent rhythms in daily prayer have been centered around the Wesley Covenant Prayer, a great tool for emptying myself of my own concerns so that I can focus instead on God's concerns for the day. But I've just picked up (again) another tool that helps structure my prayer time in such a way that the results are always powerful and effective. Bishop Reuben Job's book, Listen: Praying In A Noisy World, was first given to me by a spiritual director who--wisely, I might add--sensed that I was in a place in my walk with Christ where I needed to stop talking so much and start listening more. I tried the book. It worked. So every now and again, when I sense that I need to listen more and speak less, I pick it up. Just this morning, I sat on the rug in my office and began to work through the first week's exercise: sitting in silence. After meditating on Psalm 27 and sitting in silence, I reached a clarity on God's love for me and for the world that I haven't sensed in days, maybe even weeks now.
If you desire to have a more consistent prayer life, but you find it's hard to get started, I suggest trying Bishop Job's little book. Even if you're a seasoned saint, there's no shame at all in admitting that we need help learning to hear God's voice.