In my previous post, I explained how I personally interpret 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing”. It’s not that you would never stop saying prayers to God. It’s more like calling a friend on the phone, and neither of you hangs up your receiver, even after the talking is finished. You may drift into and out of the actual verbal conversation, but you maintain the connection, never ending the call, even through moments of silence.
Hear are 7 strategies that I have personally used to try to pray continuously:
1- Don’t say “Amen.” Announcing “amen” has the same affect on the heart as hanging up the phone. You disconnect from the call. “Amen” actually means “let it be, as You will”. But what we usually mean by it is, “okay, that’s all for now, God – talk at You later!” [Click.]
2- Be thankful. Thank God for everything. And I mean EVERYthing! Thank Him for waking you up. For your cup of coffee. For your toothpaste. For the warm shower. That your engine cranked. That your brakes worked at the stop light. That the stop light turned green! Okay, maybe I’m being a little facetious, but you get my point. Cultivate a constant stream of “Thank You for’s…” all throughout the course of your day. Not only will you stay connected with God, but gratitude works wonders for your spirit as well!
3- Tell all your thoughts to God. He already knows them all anyway – why not engage Him in conversation about them? David, in the Psalms, was a master at this. If David was elated, God heard about it. If David was pissed, God heard about it! If David was worried, at peace, confused, excited – he told God about it ALL! (And then he wrote it all down!) It’s like David never cut off his thought life from God, even when those thoughts were ugly or even disrespectful. God is big enough to handle your emotions. Don’t hold back – let it all out. His love is strong, and it is for you. If a thought comes to mind – any thought – talk to God (or ask Him) about it.
4- Pray for anyone or anything that “randomly” comes to mind. This is like talking with a friend, and there is a silent moment on the phone, and neither of you necessarily has anything to say, and then – POOF! – out of nowhere, a person or situation comes to mind, and you’re like, “Oh yeah! I almost forgot to tell you: my brother has a job interview on Thursday!” And the conversation picks right back up. (Also, I want you to know that, whenever you are talking with God, nothing just comes “randomly” into your mind by accident!)
5- Tell Him about your day! Hey, pretend it’s an actual phone conversation, and the Person on the other line just said, “So, what did you do today?” Again, He already knows, but He wants to hear it from your perspective. Okay, you win, He already knows that, too! But He STILL wants to hear it from you: His beloved, the object of His eternal affection! Tell Him all about what you did, saw, experienced, and felt today. Then tell Him everything you are looking forward to (or dreading, or indifferent) about tomorrow.
6- Ask God if He has anything He wants to say to you, and then just wait and listen. This is great for in the shower, on the road, or lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. While I don’t advocate that these be the only times you pray, they are great opportunities to redeem the time specifically for listening to what He may have to say to you. Communication is a two-way street; make way for oncoming traffic by listening quietly.
7- Utilize visual prayer prompts. Nobody is better at this than the incomparable Dianna Cash! She has prayer prompts for everything! Her Amazima bracelet reminds her to pray for Ugandan orphans. Seeing white Ford F-150s on the road reminds her to pray for her dad and brother. Her bottle cap magnets remind her to pray for her friend Beth. Put things in your field of vision that will remind you to pray for others. Some great spots for this are your bathroom mirror, kitchen counter, car dashboard, checkbook, computer monitor, fridge door…
What’s missing from my list? What strategies have you employed in attempting to “pray without ceasing”? How do you keep the communication line open with God, even through times of verbal silence?