Is constant prayer possible? I’ve always thought it sounded kind of weird, like something a regular person couldn’t do. But it also confused me that it’s a command in the Bible: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Th. 5:16-18 It’s God’s will for us. Doesn’t that mean we should all be doing it? (Find more verses about continual prayer at the end of this post!)
I hope you’ve been following along the past two weeks as we’ve talked about the importance of our ordinary days and the truth about prayer, because this week, we’re putting those two concepts together!
First, I want you to know that I’ve been learning a lot about continual prayer lately, but I’m far from perfecting it. To be honest, I’m far from actually practicing it. However, the handful of days I have dedicated to prayer have been powerful. So, wherever you’re at with prayer right now, read this post as an invitation to take the next step. I have faith that God delights in and honors every decision that brings us closer to him.
So, what is constant prayer? It’s the act of staying aware of and connected to God all day long through continual conversation with him. Tell him everything. Turn everything into a prayer! Thank him for specific things in your day. Tell him what you’re doing in any given moment. Pray for people as they come into your mind. Ask God for help with something. Tell him why you love him. Even simply acknowledge his presence. Remember him! It’s that simple.
I’ve found that saying twenty short prayers throughout a day is more helpful for remembering God than one long prayer at the beginning of the day. (I, of course, am not putting a limit on our prayers. It’s best to do both!) Constant prayer brings both a Godly perspective and God himself into every situation throughout our days!
Approaching God in response to every situation has been powerful and eye-opening for me in the past few weeks. Here’s what I’ve found about prayer's power in the following common emotions:
When I’m stressed or angry:
Let’s get the ugly stuff out there right away. This semester, there have been many flustered, stressed drives from class to work. There have been many nights eaten away by my fear of the future. There have been conflicts and frustrations with people fueled by my selfishness. Many dramatic breakdowns in my peace. And so goes life.
The single hardest thing to do in these situations is to pray. Seriously. Think of the most recent time you willingly indulged in some good ole, fit-throwing self-pity. Did you feel like approaching God? Probably not, because prayer is humbling and sobering. It forces us to evaluate ourselves in the presence of holiness and the perspective of eternity. Usually, I realize that my problem isn’t as big of a deal as I thought it was!
But not every problem in life is caused by bad attitude. Real, deep pain and conflict exist. Prayer is the best approach here too, though, because it lets us ask for divine help! When we hand over our problems to God, we recognize that someone with far more power than we can comprehend is in control (Eph. 3:20-21). It gives us solid ground to stand on once again.
When I’m feeling neutral/apathetic:
This is the state we spend most of our days in. Neutral-ness. Routine and familiarity tend to reduce our minds to comfort and indifference. Here’s the antidote I’ve found: I look around, think a bit, then thank God for everything immediately surrounding me: the ability to have a job when I’m working. Light when it’s dark outside. Nutrition and taste when I’m eating. Legs when I’m walking up stairs. Warmth when I’m inside. Friends when I see them on social media. Even fingers when I’m typing! When I give it a bit of thought, I realize that literally everything is a gift undeserved.
You can do this, too! In fact, do it right now. Pause, look around, and find three blessings you usually don't notice. Thank God for them one by one, then decide to thank him throughout the rest of your day.
When I’m happy:
Thank God that there is so much good in life! There’s good news, outside air, hobbies, the feeling of a job well done, meals with family, closeness to God, special people. . . truly, there are so many wholly good moments in our days!
Prayer in these moments focuses everything on God instead of just how we feel. Praise him for his goodness! Look for his face, personality, and purpose in the joy you’re experiencing. This focuses everything outward instead of inward, and it's also a great exercise in thankfulness.
Constant prayer: this is how we bring Jesus into every moment of our lives, and live to his glory. This is how we abide in him and keep our minds on him. This is how we bring God glory and joy, and it’s how we can transform the shakable with the unshakable!
Try it. Start now, say a prayer—and don’t say amen.
More verses about continual prayer:
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
O Lord, God of my salvation,
I cry out day and night before you.
-Psalm 88:1, ESV
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Look forward to new posts every Monday morning!