1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
But how can incessant prayer be possible? Every day we juggle the needs of our spouses, children, homes, work, and other commitments while distractions abound. Honestly, most days we’re tired or exhausted. Prayer is easy but it seems that many of us are struggling with it. Our minds are wandering, we don’t understand what to say, and it’s getting to do one more thing. Truth is, we just don’t want to sometimes. Perhaps we’re upset or disappointed and we’re giving God the silent treatment like a pouting kid. Or we’re putting on a happy face and going through prayer movements. But we feel the distance increasing.
We all encounter problems when we talk about prayer, yet those problems should not hinder us from having a mounting, pulsating relationship with our loving God. Here are a few important reminders that prayers should help us stay connected with God.
- Prayer needs to be real and straight from the heart. God already knows all that’s going on with us, and you can’t be naive or hide anything from him. We just have to be sincere and pour our hearts out to Him. One of our prayers’ beautiful things is that we don’t even have to utter a single phrase at times. God still listens to us when we don’t understand what to say or how to say it. Prayers that come from our hearts’ meditations are acceptable to Him.
- Find a place free from noise and distractions. Find a quiet location at your workplace or at home where you go every day to pray without distractions. Wherever you are, Jesus Christ is in you. Turn your focus to Him in you and you in Him, whether you’re in the grocery store, in the traffic jam, at work, or with your family.
- Choose a convenient time to pray. Set aside the moment in the scripture to meet God. It can be an excellent time to begin your day before you begin; switch off the TV, computer and mobile. This is best, but stop wherever you are in the activities of your life–and take a couple of moments to connect with God through a small verse of Scripture, the Word of God.
- Seek intimacy with God. Be keen to create your highest priority drawing nearer to God. Make whatever adjustments you need to create in your lives to enable yourself to spend important time in prayer with God daily, and frequently confess and repent of sin that blocks your intimacy with God. Construct the remainder of your lives deliberately around your connection with God.
- Cleanse your spirit. Lingering sins in your lives can block the prayer responses God intends to give you–and also lead to spiritual lethargy, mental distress, and physical disease. Clean your soul by confessing and repenting regularly of whatever sins you know about, and ask God to reveal those you don’t so that you can cope with them as well. Let go of grudges and frequently forgive others. Ask God to maintain the correct relationship between you and Him and others.
- Read the Word. Read a small segment of Scripture until you notice something. Slowly read! Read it all out loud! Read so that you can hear it and see it in your eyes. Read over and over that small chapter. Read it over and over as you listen to God, through His Holy Spirit.
- Meditate on the Word. The strong element of Scripture meditation is to reflect mentally and ponder imaginatively. Think about what you’ve read and start thinking about what God is stating. Biblical meditation starts with constantly thinking for ourselves of the Word of God. Within our mind and heart, we start to internalize the Word of God. Now, God is beginning to download! Hear the voice of God… God now speaks to you personally!
- Praise God. Develop an ongoing feeling that God is with you every day at all times–even as you go about the most mundane tasks, such as cleaning your home or traveling to your workplace. Pray as you do different duties, offer your efforts to the glory of God, and thank Him for His presence. Say brief prayers during the day for specific needs you may have during the day in a single breath. If you are too busy every day to notice the job of God around you, cut off from your timetable any operations you can and slow down. Think of God as you move from one portion of your day to another, and use even short periods of prayer between tasks (such as waiting in line to pick up your children from class).