“Pray in the Spirit, on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests…” Ephesians 6:18
I describe my daily prayer as an adventure. I could also call it a habit because I’ve woven it into the very fabric of my life. I discovered that if I did not build the daily rhythm of prayer I routinely replaced it with lesser priorities.
Rhythms define our lives. The habits we adopt and the patterns we repeat form our daily existence, direct our decisions and feed our motivations. The rhythms of life bring a sense of “normal” to unforeseen disasters and celebrations. This is true of our physical and emotional lives and also true of our spiritual life. We were created for a loving relationship with our Creator that is renewed and strengthened by the daily rhythm of prayer.
By rhythm of prayer I mean “the pulse of life that shapes our day and our life.”
The key for me, at least—was finding a rhythm that made daily, constant, prayer uncomplicated. And I discovered it by accident. Not by accident, exactly…but I wasn’t expecting it.
It happened when I walking for exercise. One day as I was walking, it dawned on me that I was given a whole lot of uninterrupted time to be with God. Regardless of where I walked – neighbourhoods, to work, to the shops, the waterfront, or my favourite –around the coast, wherever, I found that God wanted to walk with me and as a result conversation and communion with Him became natural. Because I was regularly by myself I would speak verbally with Him. On a few occasions I did get some strange looks. I generally just smiled back because I was enjoying my time with God.
Once I decided to use my walking for prayer, I discovered that I had been using this time for doing a lot of random thinking. I was planning things to do, evaluating events, wondering about people’s behaviour and reactions, justifying my actions to myself, worrying about things, day dreaming, making contingency plans. Be aware that if you’re planning to convert a routine activity into prayer time, it will take time and conscious effort to turn it into a time to pray.
I was beginning to weave prayer into my daily rhythm of life. There was no need to start praying, because after a short time, I found myself no longer “starting” and “finishing” my times of prayer. I did not “enter” and “exit” God’s presence. I spent the whole day with God.
It didn’t involve checklists, obligations, agendas or even “discipline,” really. It was just the rhythm of my daily life. Since that day, my rhythm has changed back and forth a few times, but at its most basic it is a habit of morning-and-evening prayer interspersed throughout the day of walking with God.
Since prayer is often likened to having a conversation with God, it can be done while doing anything that can be done while talking to someone at the same time. I call this ”my daily prayer walk” when you pray while doing another activity.
The point is simple – we can either try to fit prayer into our day, or we can build our day around times of prayer. A rhythm of daily prayer helps to establish a framework for this to become a meaningful reality, keeping us mindful of the Lord’s presence with us throughout the day.
Finding your special rhythm is key. Before you start planning ways to develop regular prayer times you need to tap into your need.
For you, it might be a completely different rhythm, because your life’s routines are not mine. But you already have a rhythm and if, like I was at one time, you are frequently frustrated by your general prayerlessness, it might be because you haven’t yet hit your stride, to mix a metaphor.
The power of your prayer life will increase dramatically according to the amount of time that you actually pray. When we set the goal of praying more often, having a practical daily plan prevents obstacles from getting in the way. Without a plan, prayer time gets cut short, postponed and forgotten because of busy schedules with all of life’s interruptions and demands.
How strongly do you feel the need for the sort of dynamic relationship with God that prayer has to offer?
Give the Lord the undivided attention He deserves.
He calls us to a level of intimacy that can only be sustained by His constant presence in our lives
“Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30 (MSG)