Does the biblical instruction, “Pray without ceasing” cause a sense of guilt and anxiety for you? Have you ever asked God, “how in the world do you expect me to pray without ceasing when I have to leave my prayer closet and actually do life at some point?
This command once caused me so much inner conflict! I wanted to a better prayer warrior. I understood the importance of prayer in the life of a victorious believer. The problem was that I just didn’t have the capacity (time) to obey this instruction…or so I thought!
Working well over forty hours a week, trying to be engaged and present as I raised two toddlers, and somehow manage to have energy and time for my marriage relationship and ministry, this chic right here was desperate to find quiet, stillness, and time to not only nurture a relationship with Jesus but to actually do what He asked of me…God, I want to pray more, I really do, but you see all that I have to do in a day. I just don’t have an hour every morning to give you.
Have you ever found yourself saying something similar?
Who told us we had to start our morning with an hour of prayer every day? Who told us that we had to pray in our closet or not at all? Or maybe you were told you had to designate the same place and the same time every day to pray. Why do we feel like we have to be kneeling, lying prostrate on the floor, or sitting under a prayer shawl to connect with the divine power of God? While I am a proponent of all of these arguments, I believe there is a time and season for each of them. I believe there is grace for seeking to obey the spirit of the instruction over legalism. God would much rather hear from us and have us invite Him into our day-to-day functions than to cut Him off until we can make it back to our secret place to meet with Him in prayer.
Are you sitting down? Are you holding an exceptionally hot (or cold) beverage? Sit down and put down your drink.
YOU CAN PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!
Prayer is simply a RELATIONAL ACT of COMMUNICATING WITH GOD. You can stay connected to God and communicating with Him constantly, and still be a busy mom, wife, boss, or whatever else God has you engaged for this season of your life. And here is how I do it – I’ve learned to join prayer with something I already have to do in my daily life.
Build Prayer Into Your Every Day
- LAUNDRY…the chore that never ends. One morning in my early parenting days when sleep was a rarity and exhaustion was the order of the day, I sensed the Spirit leading me to pray for my family as I folded these trillions of pieces of fabric. “Find peace in the pieces!” Instead of grumbling about how many tiny pieces of laundry such small humans can produce, I began to pray over each family member as I grabbed their laundry. Sometimes I might be led to pray over an area related to the clothing item (i.e. socks lead to prayer over their future path, or their impact in areas they go, etc). Sometimes I would just be led to pray over them in a way that wasn’t related at all to the item in hand. The point is, there is a lot of praying you can do while folding all those endless baskets of laundry!
- DISHES. Blessing our food before we eat is great, but expanding prayer time to dishwashing is an added opportunity to pray over the health and strength of not only your own household but for friends, extended family, colleagues, etc. Praying for sustenance and provision during dishwashing time is another option.
- COMMUTE. Before I worked remotely, I spent at least two hours a day on the road. Over the years, I’ve used this time for prayer, praise parties, audiobooks, and podcasts (and all manner of road rage reducing practices). If you spend any time at all alone in the car, you have a chance to connect with heaven in a mighty way! Pray for safety, for drive and motivation, for the progress of a plan, for business success, educational success, for social and community issues, to arrive at destiny and purpose… You don’t even have to pray the entire trip, but you can!
- GROCERY SHOPPING. I find that praying while grocery shopping can be hugely beneficial to both my health and my finances! If you struggle with dieting and weight management, pray while you shop and see how easy it becomes to walk right past those Oreos! If I am praying for good health, energy to chase my kids around the earth, and a 29-inch waistline, I can’t in good conscious grab everything that will produce the exact opposite result! My mind and spirit team up on my tastebuds and just won’t let me do it. Try it. This is the best diet hack of all time! Likewise, our family budget takes some of it’s heaviest hits in the food category. When I need to create space in our finances, I can always find a self-produced raise in the food category: cut dining out and create our favorite tastes from my own kitchen – income increase: check. Cut pre-packaged and highly processed products, – increased savings: check. Praying through the grocery store helps limit financial and physical gluttony, compulsion, and excess spending.
- DAILY HYGIENE. The shower (or bathtub) makes a great altar! The opportunities for symbolism here are endless—washing, cleansing, purging, releasing, watering, nurturing, refreshing…endless. Praying as you groom your body is a great time to pray over health, over the events of the day, over a good night’s sleep. It’s a good time to simply be thankful for simple things like warm water. All the things you do at the sink can represent an area of prayer: your dental routine could remind you to pray over how you use your words. Washing your face could remind you to pray for the glory of the Lord to be reflected in your life (family, career, time, relationships, etc). Moisturizing and caring for your skin could be a reminder to pray for the body of Christ, your church and leadership, or the governing body of your city, country, kid’s school.
The easiest way to build prayer into your busy life is to tie it to something you do regularly. Before you know it, praying will become second nature, and you will truly find yourself praying without ceasing! And think about this: since we know God hears us when we pray, and we know He answers prayer, how much more will your life begin to reflect the goodness and generosity of the Lord when you are constantly submitting it to His care?! Mic drop!
You can pray without ceasing. You may even come to enjoy it!
FLEX YOUR FAITH
- Where can you combine prayer with a daily task in your own life?
- Would doing so improve your prayer life or make praying feel like more of a burden?
One last note for the Sandy Super Sister’s among us: I do totally believe in the power of a good strong prayer routine. There is definitely a need for prayer routines characterized by stillness and quiet. Praying in the same place and at the same time everyday actually helps facilitate a more seamless transition from the cares of the world into the presence of God. Doing so is a spiritual discipline that is intended to help you achieve freedom in your prayer life, not to crush you under the weight of legalism and guilt. If you are experiencing the latter, then please release the standards and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance for YOUR prayer routine. Where the Spirit is, there is liberty (freedom!).