Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Friend to Friend
Three ministers were talking about prayer and the most effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman worked silently in the background.
One minister shared that he felt the key to powerful prayer was in the hands. “I always hold my hands together and point them upward as a sign of worship,” he explained.
The second minister suggested that real prayer should always be conducted on the knees.
The third minister shook his head and said, “I’m afraid you both have it wrong. The only position worth its salt is to pray while stretched out flat on your face.”
As the three ministers solemnly contemplated the wisdom they had shared, the phone man put down his tools, approached the ministers and said, “I’ve been listening to all of you and just have to share something. I have found that the most powerful prayer I ever prayed was while I was dangling upside down by my heels from a power pole suspended forty feet above the ground.”
We try to make prayer complicated, but it really isn’t. Prayer is simply a conversation with God. And like the telephone repairman, our helplessness is our most powerful prayer. God listens for the voice of our need.
Prayer isn’t a religious exercise. It isn’t a holy vending machine and does not require us to jump through a certain number of hoops in order for God to hear and respond.
Prayer is the declaration of our total and utter dependence on God. When we pray, we are telling God that we are desperate for Him. We are saying, “yes” to whatever the minute, day or future holds … even before we know what that may be.
We don’t have to drop to our knees or close our eyes to pray. Prayer is the continual conversation between our heart and the heart of God … in every part of our day. Below are some simple ways to incorporate prayer into your daily routine.
Walk, run, stretch, or cycle while you pray. Use exercise with prayer as a way to reflect upon the gift of life itself.
If you have a long list of prayer requests, you might be too tired by the end of the list to devote much attention to your own spiritual health. Try to refocus your prayer time so that it is balanced between the needs of others and yourself. Doing so will build your own strength so you can help others.
Sometimes we are too busy praying to hear what God has to say. Don’t let prayer become one-sided. Set aside time each day to clear your mind of all distractions, sit in God’s presence, and listen for God’s voice.
Recruit a prayer partner. Whether in person, on the telephone, or online, the power of prayer can be multiplied when people come together.
Be a Child
What questions did you ask God when you were a child? They were probably very different from the ones you ask now. If your prayer life feels stuck now, approach it as a child – with wonder, simple questions, trust, and even humor.
Practice Driving Prayer
Turn your time behind the wheel into prayer time. Ask God to guide your steps. As He brings people to mind, pray for them.
Try Prayerful Single-Tasking
Multi-tasking is touted as a good thing, but a growing body of research shows that it actually erodes productivity. Instead of dividing your concentration among many tasks, prayerfully do one thing at a time. Offer your work as a prayerful gift to God.
Native Americans have a saying: “Never let a day go by without touching the earth with your foot.” Take a five or ten minute break for a slow prayerful walk. Nature tunes us into God’s presence.
Change Your Routine
If your prayer time is sandwiched between dinner and bedtime or homework and hobbies, rearrange your schedule so that prayer is the priority. The more important prayer is to us, and the more attention we give it, the stronger our relationship with God will grow.
Prayer should be our first response … not our last resort. It should be as natural as breathing. We should pray non-stop, especially for each other.
When you are in need, ask for prayer.
And when someone asks you to pray for them – pray.
Pray with them over the phone. Stop in the middle of the store or sidewalk and pray. Pray with your children on the way to school. Write a note of prayer. Ask your waiter or waitress how you can pray for them.
Make prayer a natural and ongoing part of your day and life.
Father, I confess that instead of praying, I try to work things out on my own. I turn to so many places when I should turn to You. Teach me to pray, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Psalm 32:8 (NLT) “The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” What comfort does this verse give you about God’s plan for your life as opposed to your plans or the plans of others? How does it help you pray?
More from the Girlfriends
If you need help learning how to pray, check out Dan Southerland’s book, Chair Time. It will change your prayer life in a powerful way.