Posts Tagged ‘praying’

How We Can Pray Without Ceasing

January 18, 2016

Our friend, the apostle Paul, gave this advice to the disciples in Thessalonica, “Pray without ceasing.”

That sounds so simple.

But wait, how can you do that?

You wake up in the morning. Think of that first cup of coffee. Grab the newspaper or check news sites on the Web. Think of the commute to work. Get the kids ready for school.

We wake up and we’re already swamped with tasks, worries, planning.

Where is prayer?

Same with the day. We have things to do, people to see, places to go. Pray? You’ve got to be kidding me. Didn’t the first Century Christians have life a lot easier? A slower pace?  More time for contemplation?

The anonymous pilgrim in one of my favorite books, The Way of a Pilgrim, pondered that question as he traveled the Russian countryside. He discovered that realistically you cannot literally pray ever second of every day. But his continual praying brought a number of important people into his life just at the right time.

Brother Lawrence, a 17th Century Carmalite brother recorded in The Practice of the Presence of God, was another man who sought to pray without ceasing. He talked of praying while cooking, baking.

Paul linked praying with other commands (tips, suggestions?). 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 records, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

These do not describe separate commands. They describe a way of life. We can call it attitude–the way we approach living. It could be habit–our response to life. It becomes imprinted on our DNA.

The most important thing is to start the day well. Rise 15 minutes earlier. Go straight to your favorite chair. Open your Bible, read for a few minutes. Pause, pray for a few minutes. Now you are ready for the day. Pray as we tend the kids. Pray as we fix breakfast. Pray as we commute.

Prayer means more than talking aloud. It can be done on knees, lying in bed, walking, driving, whatever we’re doing.

Talking is good. Listening is better. Attitude toward God–priceless.

When Do You Think About Jesus

October 31, 2014

Computers, networking devices, software, how to use all of this to make manufacturing more efficient and effective. That’s where most of my attention is during the day.

Many, or most, of you face the same challenge. Most of your attention is on where you earn a living.

I thought about this while reading some interesting thoughts from a guy who is on the pastoral staff of a large church. Gosh, most of his thoughts must be on Jesus. Right? Or maybe not.

So where does Jesus fit in? When do you think of God?

Jesus had to have spent much time thinking about God. He always had an answer. He couldn’t have spent all day talking about the weather with his followers. We know that sometimes his attention was diverted–a woman touching him to be healed, people with diseases coming to him asking for healing, rich guys asking for advice, teachers asking him trick questions (just like they do yet today in school).

Maybe we need a post-it note on our computer screen to remind us to stop and think of Jesus? Or maybe an alert on our calendar that pops up to remind us to pray.

The reason I like Daniel so much, you know, the guy who administered the Babylonian empire and who was so good that when the Persians conquered them they kept him as top administrator, the reason I like him is that he withdrew from his office three times a day to go to his room and pray.

It is that intentional habit to stop what he’s doing and pray. Did he have an alert? Without a computer to popup an alert on the screen, did he have an assistant look in his office and alert him? Was it just built into his brain that it was time o pray?

How can I divert my attention to Jesus during the day to remember my source of inspiration?