Day 26 1 Thessalonians 5:17
“Pray without ceasing.”
I’m sure you have heard this before and probably thought, “That’s impossible,” and set the idea aside. I know it’s happened to me many times. I imagine it has for you as well. During this Lenten season I’ve really been trying to improve my intimacy with God and have found that the only way to do that is through prayer, and really, continuous prayer. Years ago I a book by Brother Lawrence called “Practicing the Presence of God”. Brother Lawrence talks about making all of life a prayer, whether working in the kitchen, which he did every day, or walking from place to place. He writes, “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.” That always amazed me – seemed impossible for me.
I’ve recently came across someone else who has written about his attempt at the same. His name is Frank Laubach from 1930. He called it an experiment with a game called “the game with minutes.” He was inspired by Brother Lawrence. This is how he described it. “We try to call Him to mind at least one second of each minute. We do not need to forget other things nor stop our work, but we invite Him to share everything we do or say or think. Hundreds of us have experimented until we have found ways to let Him share every minute of our waking hours.” One way Laubach practiced this was to “shoot” prayers at everyone he encountered. That act would turn the routine of life into a daily adventure as some person’s entire demeanor would change, some would walk past and turn around and then smile at him, others nothing would happen. He would simply pray silently while looking at people as they passed.
You could do the same by simply praying for people before or after a meeting, asking for favor, discernment, grace, and a blessing on them. If you are a child of God, you are a priest – as such, it is your right and responsibility to pronounce blessings over everyone in your life.
The key to praying without ceasing is turning everything into a prayer. It will probably start with the big things like problems and dreams and then graduate to little things like chores and routines. Then hopefully, eventually your entire life will become a continuous prayer. Every thought – every action – every moment. If your personality trait is that of a worrier, you have tremendous prayer potential. The apostle Paul writes, “Don’t worry about anything: instead, pray about everything.” If you are a worrier, you’ll have a higher likelihood of praying without ceasing if you learn to turn your worries into prayers. A worry can become an alarm to pray and that will allow your anxieties to evaporate.
The reason most people don’t feel close to God – don’t feel intimacy with God – is they don’t have a daily prayer rhythm. Can you imagine talking with your spouse or child once a week? God wants a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute relationship with you. The good news is, God is only a prayer away. You don’t even have to hit your knees or bow your head or fold your hands to be heard. Prayer isn’t a sentence that begins with “Dear Jesus” and ends with “Amen.” In fact, the best prayers don’t even involve words at all. The best prayer is a well-lived life, day in and day out in the presence of God.
Turn your prayer life into a game. Try experimenting with how you pray. Try a new posture – walking, kneeling, laying, hands out, hands up? Try a fast – from food to television to sleep to social media – but remember the key is giving up something and replacing it with prayer. Try different times, different techniques, try to journal your prayers. Try “shooting” prayers at those who pass by you. Make your life a prayer. Amen.