I've found a really good way to pray.
One of my favorite times to pray is right once I wake up. Unfortunately, I have found it hard to just sit down and start praying after rising from sleep. Often my mind is full of things from the day and the literal noise around me makes it hard to empty my mind and be present for the prayer. I started experimenting a little each morning, trying to find anything I could do to help me clear my thoughts and create an open and quiet time to pray.
Getting a decent amount of sleep is the first thing I try and do. Waking up with a headache or still feeling incredibly tired is the quickest way to kill any enthusiasm for prayer. Often my mind turns to getting a shower or preparing breakfast instead of sitting down to talk with God. Getting a good night's sleep really helps take down the first barriers you can encounter if you want to do morning prayer.
This one may seem odd in a list of things that I do to get a clear mind for prayer, but man do some morning pushups and sit-ups help clear my mind. You'd be amazed at how quickly I wake up and focus after just one set of pushups. I feel like my brain gets a jumpstart as my heart begins pumping blood to keep up with the stress of early morning calisthenics. When I'm done, my whole body feels present and in the now. I follow this activity with the next one.
Recently I stumbled across one of the greatest things the Internet has ever provided me with. It's called your Morning Pages and I found it at The Artist's Way. Their website describes Morning Pages best, so to quote their own words:
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages-- they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind-- and they are for your eyes only.
I do Morning Pages by opening up iA Writer and emptying whatever hits my mind. I just keep typing, without regard to spelling or grammar. When I've exhausted all my mind has in it, I feel so empty, so clear and focused, that I almost automatically enter into a state of prayer. I save these Morning Pages, without any edits, right into a DayOne journal entry. I think it will be really interesting to go back and read them all one day.
Now that I've found a way of praying in the morning that works for me, the hardest thing I know I'll personally run into is doing it consistently every day. I have much resolve, however, and the benefits I'm already experiencing from praying and Morning Pages are putting a massive positive perspective on my mornings and day ahead. I'm really excited to have found a way to start my day off awake, focused and prayerful; it sets the tone for my day in the best way possible.