“Pray without ceasing.” I Thes. 5:17
Ever since I learned this verse, I have wondered HOW I was to do this. As a child I was taught to pray with my eyes closed, head bowed and hands folded. Even a young child knows one can’t do that all the time.
During my year at Bible College, I was part of a trio that sang in area churches. Though we were encouraged to pray before leaving campus, we often were on the highway minus the prayer, so the joke was that the driver COULD NOT shut their eyes. This helped me realize that the physical model I’d been taught wasn’t the only way to pray.
Before leaving on a mission trip, my daughter’s friend promised to pray for her whenever she went to the bathroom. Though at first I thought it rather strange, I soon found myself remembering to pray specifically for my daughter while in the bathroom.
That experience taught me to use every day items as prayer reminders. I’ve used flags to prompt prayers for servicemen, the site of a near-accident to pray for a friend, annual Christmas photos on my kitchen wall to pray for friends near and far, homes I pass by as a reminder to pray for people in my life..
The last solo my sister sang in church brings special thoughts of her and I say a prayer for her new responsibilities that overshadow her singing. The old hymn “Trust and Obey” brings to mind the voice, image and faith of a gnarly old farmer from the church of my childhood, and a prayer of thanksgiving for the faith of those who left us faithful examples. Often my personal time at the piano SOUNDS like playing, but it is praying!
Making up the beds in anticipation of our family coming home to visit is the perfect time to pray for their safe travels. Cleaning the bathroom and setting out their favorite towels and shampoos remind me to pray for sweet communion while they are home. Making space in the frig for the foods they love triggers me to seek God’s face for His space in their spiritual walk.
Shoveling snow reminds me to pray for missionaries who tell how Jesus’ blood will wash sins “whiter than snow”. Gardening and prayers for farmers go hand-in-glove. Walking on our country road at sunrise outshines any prayer service in a cathedral.
I am still learning what it means to pray without ceasing. There are plenty of times that my mind is trying to organize what “comes next” instead of praying. But as I seek to practice “praying without ceasing”, God show me how to weave prayer into the chaos of daily life.
Do you believe that prayer changes things?
How can you work prayers into each part of your day?