Prayer, at times seems to me to almost be some kind of ethereal enigma. Yet I often find, when life gets foggy, and my spirit is bombarded with distraction, that simplicity brings peace.
Sometimes we feel the need to sound smart when we talk to God. Or perhaps we feel that appreciation somehow increases in value with the size of our list of compliments - as though time spent adds some measure of sincerity. Because of that, our prayer time is often pressed into one moment of mechanically disciplined structure.
“Lord, I want to thank you for my shoestrings; and my knee caps, and my grandkids...”, and on we go until we feel like we’ve properly praised, so we can move on to the next step of our structured prayer. We’re running so fast over the course of the day, we want to focus all of our most sincere energy into that five or ten minutes in the morning we’ve allotted for prayer time.
There is a verse on prayer that gives me a great deal of peace and clarity when speaking to our heavenly Father. It is a very plain instruction. It is not flowery, or poetic - yet it speaks volumes. Romans 12:12 tells us we should be, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer”.
There is a fluid spontaneous sincerity in this method which helps me reach out and connect with the Lord in moment’s of genuine emotion, tribulation, and celebration throughout the course of each day. This instant communion Paul speaks of can become a founding pillar in your life. There are times in our lives, especially if we have children, or jobs of great demand, that prove very difficult to get time alone to speak to our Lord. He knows that. He knows when you’re distracted. He knows when you’re concerned. He knows when you’re overwhelmed. He understands all too well what it feels like to have people relying on you - whether they’re your kids, or your community, or your coworkers. God is no stranger to an active schedule. His kids take up a lot of His focus too.
So be “instant in prayer”. In times such as these, take your baby steps and start slow. Every time you pray doesn’t have to be some kind of grand event. Over the course of your day, little moments will present themselves to you where the world washes away, and you are filled with a kind of instantaneous conviction. It might be the smell of freshly cut grass, or a new rain. In that moment, thank Him - not later on tonight when you “intend to get to your prayer”, but right then! In that moment when it passes through your senses, and momentarily gives you a brief peace that rejuvenates and pushes you onward with a hint of renewed vigor.
If an ambulance passes by, or you have a fleeting thought of an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile, pray for them right then and there. Don’t wait! When you’re convicted to reach out to Him, be instant in prayer! You might not know what’s specifically needed, but He does. Tell Him that. And when you sin, as we all do daily, tell Him you’re sorry the moment you realize it. Ask His forgiveness, get back up, and charge forward again knowing your Father is with you.
If you commit to this; if you commit to these moments of clear sincerity, be they of appreciation, petition, or repentance, you will begin to find by the end of your day that you have in fact spent a good deal of time in prayer. You will also find the more you do this, the more often you will think to do it. And I can tell you of a certainty that moments such as these mean more to your Father than a thousand hours spent behind closed doors racking your brain for something to say. Open your hearts to Him in every moment of every day. Why wouldn’t you? He knows what’s in them anyway.