There are multiple ways to pray in the midst of a busy life.
Posted in , Nov 11, 2015
Enough of us have scratched our heads at Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing,” wondering if we’re ever to get up from a kneeling position, but if we take Paul’s life for an example–traveling, preaching, tent-making, church-building, letter-writing–we can assume there are multiple ways to pray in the midst of a busy life. Here are some that you might want to try.
1) Write a thank-you note.
Whenever I’m out of sorts and need to get myself to a godly place, writing a thank-you note proves a prayerful road back. There’s always somebody in my life who deserves much thanks. It could be an email, a note on nice stationery or a postcard I drop in the mail. Writing down what I’m grateful for, expressing it, sharing it, is a reminder of my own gratitude to God.
2) Repeat a short prayer to yourself.
And when I say short, I mean short. It could be a phrase from the Lord’s Prayer, something from a Psalm like “The Lord is my shepherd,” just an expression of God’s name or the Jesus Prayer, “Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” You can say it as often as you want, letting it pull you back to God, giving you a kingdom perspective on this world. No one has to know what’s going on in your head. These are words just between you and your Creator.
3) Send a flash prayer.
I’ll never forget my friend Claire who worked in the film business, and she told me that when she found herself in a contentious meeting, she would “zap” people with prayer. She said it was sort of like a secret Star Wars weapon. Often enough the contentiousness would die down and real collaboration would happen. Make God your collaborator and zap someone with a prayer when both they and you need it.
4) Breathe in God’s love.
People will say that you should pause and take a few deep breaths when you’re stressed. My friend, David, recommends something you can add to that. With each breath, take in God’s healing love. Let it fill you up and then breathe His Spirit out into the world. I like the way Job, who had his share of suffering puts it, “God’s spirit made me: the Almighty’s breath enlivens me.”
5) Hold a song in your head.
I’m lousy at multi-tasking. It’s challenging enough to concentrate on one thing at a time. But I can hold a song in my head while doing a dozen other things. It’s there on its own inner loop, filling my brain and my heart, making me happy even without me singing a note. Put your ear buds on, play your favorite spirit-lifting song, then let it play back for you the rest of the day. It’ll do the praying for you.
6) Be other-oriented.
I find the more focused I am on others, the more prayerful my life is. Not for nothing do certain names pop into my head–often enough I find there’s reason. It’s a wake-up call for caring and prayer. My friend, Roberta, gives away something every day. It might be just a clipping from the newspaper or a recipe she likes, but she shares something of herself. “Give us this day our daily bread,” Jesus said. “Us” not “me.” Doing for others takes me right there.