We all know the verse “never stop praying” or “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). But many of us struggle with simply praying daily. I know that it is and has been a huge struggle for me! Prayer has always been an abstract concept to me. I have written a whole other blog post about my struggle in prayer, and how God began teaching me how to pray. Since then, I have worked on scripture writing (and struggled through it) verses that the bible says about prayer, started a prayer journal, and started a prayer journalling group on Facebook. But I’m still struggling through my journey.
So, I asked myself, how do I implement prayer without cease? How in the WORLD am I supposed to stay in constant prayer. Well, it’s not actually rocket science, I realized! A couple of years ago, I attended a Sunday night service at my former church home, where the preacher spoke on prayer. He brought to light something I had never considered in all of my struggle; prayer is our part of a two-way conversation with God. God gave us His Word, that we might hear His voice and understand Him. Prayer is our response to that Word. Yes, I fully believe that God can speak to us through revelations in our hearts and minds as well, but that comes after our initial response to His word. So, when we do our daily bible study, we will hear what God is saying to us, and when we pray in response, that opens up the conversation.
Now, I still haven’t addressed constant prayer, but I’m getting to that point. First, we must understand that God has initiated the conversation with us by providing His word and by allowing us to come to Him because of the sacrifice of Christ. Without those two important things, there would be NO conversation with God at all. So, now that we know that the bible is God’s way of initiating conversation with us, we can proceed to keeping that conversation line open.
There are a couple of ways to do this. The first way, is to have our bible study first thing in the morning. This will begin the conversation early, and allow us to ponder on what we have read, throughout the day. With our reading floating around in our head, we already have a conversational topic. The problem that I, personally, have with this method, is that I will do my reading, and I’ll ponder it for an hour or so, and then my day gets busy and I don’t continue thinking on it for the remainder of my day.
My solution was to approach the idea with an idea I am already familiar with in my daily life. I have a daily schedule, but we all know that we aren’t supposed to schedule God in. We are supposed to live for Him and schedule around that. Think about it this way (for those of you that are parents or can at least imagine parenthood), we live each day for our children. We don’t ‘schedule’ them in. We are constantly taking care of their needs, checking on them, answering them when they instigate conversation, et cetera.
So, if we are to live for God, what will that look like? Check in with God often. How? Try this method out. Read your bible daily, and have index cards or post its with bible verses and prayers on them throughout your home. You can have some that you always keep up and change out every so often. Or you can write out a few during the morning during your bible study, to keep the conversation with God on a more specific topic that correlated to your reading. Some of you won’t have time to write them out daily, so the first method might work better for you, and some of you need the structure of keeping your daily conversation with God on one topic.
Why do I suggest the index cards or post it method? Our children can catch us off guard in any room of the house. When you walk by the post it or index card, you can stop and imagine that it is God speaking to you in that moment. How would you respond? What will you say? Continue the conversation with Him while you fold laundry, wash dishes, take a shower, and so on. By looking at it in a way that we already do on a daily basis, we can train ourselves to keep the conversation with God going. Praying without cease will be attainable, because we are applying real life practices that we already do daily with the people in our life.
I will be implementing this behavior, myself, over the course of February, to see what kind of habit I can make in keeping in constant conversation and prayer with God. I hope this is something that you all can implement as well!