Monday, March 18, 2013

Praying Without Ceasing

I'm reading a good book right now, called "Draw the Circle" by Mark Batterson. This chapter about praying without ceasing makes some pretty good points and I wanted to share with you. These are the author's words.

The idea came from the scripture 1 Thessalonians 5:17 which tells us to pray without ceasing. In 1930, a man named Frank Laubach began a prayer experiment. He was dissatisfied with his lack of intimacy with God. He was inspired by a monk named Brother Lawrence, whose singular purpose in life was to live in the presence of God. This didn't mean retreating from the routine of life; it meant redeeming every routine and turning it into a prayer. He turned his chores into prayers, even. In his words, "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."

Laubach's question was, "Can we have contact with God all the time?" This is what he said. "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."

Laubach, for example, would pray for people while looking at them. Some people wouldn't react, but some people would actually turn around suddenly and smile at him. Before you walk into a meeting, pray for the people involved in that meeting. Pray blessings on them. If you're a child of God, you're a priest. It's your right and responsibility to pronounce blessings over everyone in your life - from your children to your colleagues, and everyone in between.

The key to praying without ceasing is turning everything into a prayer. It usually starts with big things like problems, and then graduates to little things like chores and routines. And eventually, your entire life becomes a continuous prayer. Every thought. Every action. Every moment.

If you are a worrier by nature, you have tremendous prayer potential. If you worry about everything, you'll have a higher likelihood of praying without ceasing if you learn to turn your worries into prayers. The Holy Spirit can redeem your anxious thoughts by using them as prayer triggers. Think of worry as a prayer alarm. Every time it goes off, you put it to prayer. Your anxieties will evaporate like early morning fog. Recycle them. Turn your worries into prayers!

What if you stopped reading the newspaper and started praying it? What if you turned lunch meetings into prayer meetings? What if you turned your chores into prayers?

You'd come a lot closer to the goal of praying without ceasing.

When you're folding your children's laundry, pray that they would be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. When you're commuting, cast your cares on him. When you tuck your kids into bed at night, let the last words they hear be your prayers for them.

The reason most people don't feel intimacy with God is they don't have a daily prayer rhythm. They may have a weekly rhythm of going to church, but that won't produce intimacy with God. Can you imagine talking to your spouse or child just once a week? God wants a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute relationship with you.

Turn your prayer life into a game. Experiment with kneeling or walking while praying. Fast from things like food or television or sleep or Facebook, and replace it with prayer. Create a prayer list or a journal.

If you want to see God do something new in your life, you cannot keep doing the same old thing. Do something different. And see what a difference it makes.

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