I’ve happily adopted ways to follow Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing.”
Posted in , Mar 12, 2013
I’ve had plenty of mentors when it comes to prayer, people I’ve mentioned in my book 10 Prayers You Can’t Live Without, my dad, ministers from childhood, writers, the Psalmist (of course!)—but there’s one spiritual mentor I’d put high on my list and we’ve never met. Or at least we’ve only met online.
I found Bob Hostetler in a Google search when I typed in prayer and soon became hooked not only to his daily—how does he do it?—prayer blog but also his blog Desperate Pastor. He’s an encourager, and I go back to him again and again for encouragement. Let me highlight just a few of his practical prayer tips that I’ve happily adopted, things he does to follow Paul’s admonition from 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.”
1. I spend time in prayer every morning and evening.
It helps to have a set time of day when you consciously dedicate yourself to prayer. For Bob it’s at least morning and evening prayers. For me, it’s a psalm on my subway ride to work. Every day.
2. I celebrate the Sabbath.
It’s so easy to think of Sunday as a “catch-up” day, but I find I’m better off for the week if I make it a non-work day. I always try to make a point of reading something that has nothing to do with work. And of course, Sunday worship is the highlight of the day. Can’t get enough of singing and singing.
3. I pray on the spur of the moment, on the phone, on Facebook and on email.
“People often ask me to pray for them,” Bob writes, “and sometimes I’m able to stop what I’m doing and pray immediately, with or without their knowledge. I might offer to pray with them, even in a public place. Or I’ll type my prayer on Facebook or via email.” No reason why email or Facebook can’t be a good place for prayer. I’ve even got a Facebook page dedicated to prayer.
4. I pray with the help of “triggers.”
Bob writes about carrying a large disc in his pocket that reminded him to pray for certain people every time he reaches for change. I’ve used Post-it notes, computer passwords, emails to myself. Anything to remind me of who needs prayer (sometimes it’s Bob!).
5. I’ll pray on hold.
“On-hold commercials and Muzak make it harder, but I try to make a habit of praying anytime I’m on hold, even when it’s for just a few minutes,” Bob says. Our culture is so rush-rush, hurry-hurry, and then again and again we’re called to wait. Like Bob says, why not use the waiting for something better than getting irritated with a repeating message on the phone?
6. I pray the Jesus Prayer.
We both do this one, although the words I use are a little different that his. Here’s mine: Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner. Make haste to help me. Rescue me and save me. Let thy will be done in my life. It’s an easy prayer to keep in your head and hear. Bob also prays the Isaiah Prayer, which is really love: Here I am, Lord.
He’s got more to say, so check him out. But I would especially agree with his conclusion: “The more I pray, the more I need to pray, and the more I know I need to pray. But thankfully, too, the more I pray... the more I pray.” Ain’t it the truth!