I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Paul’s simple imperative, “Pray without ceasing.” I’ve heard it for years, but never seriously tried to put it into practice until recently. It’s going well . . . ish. Honestly, I’m still pretty bad at it, but I am getting better. And it’s getting easier and more natural and more joy-filled the longer I work on it. I would love this to be my lifestyle. Imagine how sweet that would be!
I asked a friend of mine to help me think ways to cultivate a lifestyle of unceasing prayer. (Note to self and others: If you want to have a great conversation that’s the way to do it.) We came up with a few ideas like these:
-If you feel thankful, express it. Turn everything positive you see or experience into a prayer of thanksgiving. When you go outside and see the Fall leaves on the ground, thank God for the seasons. When you’re spending an enjoyable evening with your church friends, thank God for the church, friendship, the ability to communicate, food, laughter, the Bible, the examples of Christ-likeness that surround you, and much more.
-When you make a decision, even a smaller one, ask the One who knows best for His counsel first. Sometimes just the act of bringing my small decision before God helps me to realize that I already know the right thing to do. But most importantly, prayer about decisions puts me in that position of seeking what God would desire from me, rather than what would be most convenient for me. I struggle with remembering that those two things don’t always agree.
-Whenever you meditate on Scripture, pray through it. I need a lot of work on this one.
-Keep a humble and needy view of yourself, which is a correct view, and pray accordingly. “I don’t have boldness to speak truth to this person. Give me boldness.” “I can’t understand this text of Scripture, no matter how hard I try, unless you unlock it for me.” “I confess that I don’t have a right view about such-and-such right now. Set my mind back on what’s true.”
-When a person comes to mind, always pray for that person. Mom mentions, “So I guess so-and-so had her surgery yesterday, I wonder how she’s doing.” Cue: pray for her. Dad says, “Well Laura and Josh are having a good time on their honeymoon I guess.” Cue: pray. I open up my email inbox and discover an email from someone. Well there’s my cue again—it’s time to pray.
-Strategically place things where they will remind you to pray. Example: I put a map of Europe as my computer background to remind me to pray for that continent and the various missionaries and friends that are over there right now.
-More ideas anyone?