“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
If you are a book reader and haven’t read The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, put it on your reading list as it’s a great one! So great that each time I am reminded of it, I pull my copy out and read it again!
Mark Batterson reminds us of Brother Lawrence in today’s devotion: “On January 30, 1930, Frank Laubach began a prayer experiment he called ‘the game with minutes.’ He was dissatisfied with his lack of intimacy with God and decided to do something about it. One of the inspirations for Laubach’s experiment was Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century monk whose singular purpose in life was to live in the presence of God. For Brother Lawrence, this didn’t mean retreating from the routine of life; it meant redeeming every routine and turning it into prayer. For decades, Brother Lawrence worked in the kitchen of his Carmelite Monastery, washing dishes and preparing meals, but he turned his chores into prayers. After many years of practicing the presence of God, prayer became a way of life. In the words of Brother Lawrence, ‘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 launched an experiment to see if he could have contact with God at every waking moment. He began to pray for everyone he encountered which turned his routine life into a daily adventure.
Batterson encourages us to “pray for the people you are meeting with, prior to walking into the meeting. Ask God for favor, discernment, and grace. Then when you leave, pray blessing on them. A prayer of blessings isn’t just something for pastors to pronounce over congregations at the end of services. It’s your right and responsibility to pronounce blessings over everyone in your life – from your children to your colleagues to your customers, and everyone in between.
“The key to praying without ceasing is to turn everything into prayer. It usually starts with big things like problems and dreams. Then it graduates to little things like chores and routines. And eventually, your entire life becomes a continuous prayer. Every thought. Every action. Every moment.”
Can you imagine only talking to your spouse or child once a week? Sometimes once a week is all the time we give God. And if that’s true then there is no way we can have an intimate relationship with Him.
“God is only a prayer away. The shortest distance between you and Him is the distance between your knees and the floor. But you don’t have to hit your knees or bow your head or fold your hands to be heard. Prayer isn’t something we do with our eyes closed; prayer is something we do with our eyes wide open. Prayer isn’t a sentence that begins with ‘Dear Jesus’ and ends with ‘Amen.’ In fact, the best prayers don’t even involve words at all. The best prayer is a well-lived life, day in and day out.”
Like Laubach, try turning your prayer life into a game. Try a new prayer posture (kneeling, walking, palms up, or eyes open), praying at different times of the day, creating a prayer list or starting a prayer journal. If you want to see a difference in your life, do something different.
Change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. -Mark Batterson
What new prayer posture, prayer time or place to pray will you try today?