Tag Archives: Pray

A Continual Conversation with God

As I’ve mentioned a few times this week, it’s been a crazy, busy week. And it isn’t over yet! Friday night and Saturday I will be attending our Women’s Retreat, and then right after that my son comes home from his youth retreat that he’s been at since Monday. There has been no time to write a Saturday post and I knew I wouldn’t have my usual leisurely Saturday morning to write it. So I decide to reuse and schedule something I wrote early in my blogging, a post that had not been viewed very many times but that I think offers a great perspective on prayer.

This quote from Brother Lawrence came in my Quotemeal daily email: “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” That’s easy for a monk to say. What did Brother Lawrence have to do all day but be in “continual conversation with God.” But how does one do that with a full-time job, kid, and other commitments?

And yet, scripture calls us to do just what Brother Lawrence suggests. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “pray continually,” “pray without ceasing,” or “Never stop praying,” depending on the translation you choose. Prayer is basically a conversation with God. I love this verse, but I used to have a hard time figuring out how to put it into practice.

If you think of prayer as the time during which you get on your knees and ask God for all the things you need or want, and tell Him about your family and friends who are sick or in trouble, and plead with Him to fix all your problems. Then you get up and go about your day. There’s no time for continual conversation.

One day it occurred to me that this is the wrong way to think about prayer. Instead, I began to think of prayer as spending time with my best friend. When I spend time with a good friend, we can both be in the same room doing different things and not even talking. But I always know that if I have something to say my friend will listen. And if my friend says something to me, I will be there to hear.

God’s Word tells me that He is always there for me; He is everywhere and wherever I am. If I always remember that, then I can easily “pray without ceasing.” Wherever I am at anytime, if I need someone to talk to He will listen because He is my friend. I also need to be aware that He may have something to say to me and be always ready to listen to that “small still voice.” Continual prayer doesn’t require constant words; it requires only continual awareness of the presence of God. In this way, even the busiest life can be sweet and delightful.

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Did I Forget to Pray?

It has been almost a year since I wrote the post An Attitude of Kneeling about how I had begun literally kneeling to pray each morning. It has been a wonderful habit that has gotten me through many a difficult day. Prayer is such a powerful antidote to the human tendency to give in to worry, doubt, fear, and heartache. The devil tries to keep us down with these negative feelings and thoughts. I think God knew this year was going to be a challenging one for me in many ways when He spoke to me about the importance of kneeling to pray.

Paul, in his letter to the church in Ephesus, encourages the believers on how they can resist the schemes of the devil to paralyze them with fear and doubt, closing with the instruction to pray.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. . . . And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-11, 18.

But this weekend, for some reason, I skipped my morning prayer time all three days. I never even thought about it. Saturday was a day spent with my family, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and playing video games. Sunday there wasn’t time before church because we had to be there early so my son could be ready to run the slide show. Monday was a day off from work and I was busy writing on this blog and reading other blogs, doing more laundry, and thinking about what to make for dinner while my husband was off playing frisbee golf. I was listening to my iPod and the day was going fine.

Before I knew it, a dark cloud of worry, doubt, fear, and heartache came over me on Monday afternoon. There was a sadness in my heart that is difficult to describe. But still I did not pray.

This morning, back to my routine of getting ready for work, I kneeled to pray. It was then that I realized I had skipped my prayer time all weekend. By doing so, I had failed to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” I had not put each day in God’s hands and asked for His wisdom and guidance. Had I done so, I would have been prepared for the doubt and worry that came to my mind mid-afternoon. I would have been prepared to take my stand against the devil’s schemes.

Many people dismiss the power of prayer, but in reality it is not the prayer itself that is powerful. It is God, on whom we call and in whom we trust when we pray, who is powerful. Prayer reminds us of the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit within us and puts Him in charge of our thoughts. Time spent talking with God, sharing our concerns and stopping to listen to His counsel, is essential in a world filled with difficulties and challenges. Often when I kneel to pray I hear Him say, “Be still, and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10. When I reflect on that thought, just knowing that He is God and that He loves me, because God is love (1 John 4:8), I am strengthened for the day and am reminded of the blessings He has given me.

Throughout the Gospels, we see examples of Jesus praying. If Jesus, who was Himself God incarnate, believed it was important for Him to be in communication with the Father through prayer, why should I be any different? If I am struggling through a day, just an ordinary day like any other, besieged by doubts and fear, the first thing I must ask myself is, “Did I forget to pray?” Most likely the answer will be “Yes.” Because if I remember to pray, if I remember to kneel before God and seek His wisdom and strength, I will be able to stand against the devil’s schemes.

The next time you are struggling through an ordinary day or a particularly difficult one, remember God is there to help you through. All you need to do is remember to pray.

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Let My Words Be Few

I was led to a new poetry blog today and was amazed again at how poets can say so much with so few words. My friend Deb does it every day. It reminded me of this verse from Matthew and I was inspired to write a short poem on prayer.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:7-8.

Let My Words Be Few

For what, O Lord, should I pray

Wisdom?
Wealth?
A sunny day?

Freedom?
Health?
An easier way?

Family?
Friends?
Time to play?

I would forgo it all
If it meant
Not losing You.

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Don’t Worry, Just Trust

Human beings have a tendency to worry. We worry about whether we will have enough money to pay the rent or mortgage; we worry about whether our kids will get into college and succeed in life; we worry about whether we will get cancer, or diabetes, or some other disease that runs in our family; we worry that tomorrow will bring the worst.

But Jesus taught us not to worry. In Matthew 6:27, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Jesus acknowledges that as human beings we need food, shelter, and clothing, and says that our Father in Heaven knows we need them. He says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34.

But what is wrong with worrying? The problem is that at its core “worry” equates to not trusting God and it doesn’t serve any useful purpose in our lives or in the furtherance of God’s kingdom. The Random House Dictionary defines the verb worry as “to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.” Worry is something that occurs only in the mind, thinking over and over about what might happen.

So what is the alternative? We can’t just sit around and expect all that we need to come our way without any effort. So what do we do instead of worry? Two things: plan and pray.

We plan when we have a healthy concern for what the future will bring and take action to prepare for that future. We go to work to earn a living so that we can buy food and pay the rent, or we send out resumes and look for a job if we are unemployed. We teach our children good values and help them when they are struggling in school so that they can get into a good college. We go to the doctor for routine check-ups and screening tests related to hereditary diseases so we can catch and treat them early, and we follow our doctor’s advice for ways to prevent things such as diabetes and heart disease that run in our families.

Then we pray and trust God to be there no matter what the future brings. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:6-7, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When you give your worries to God, He gives you peace in return. I don’t understand how or why, but I’ve done it enough times to know that it is true.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know who will be there with me. Even in the worst of times He has been with me and has brought me through. So just remember, when you start to worry and fret about a future you cannot know or control, “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

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