In our first post in a series about prayer, staff members share favorite Scripture verses, discipline tips, and personal encouragement to enrich your prayer life.
Prayer: The Greatest Conversation
Prayer is that beautiful conduit of communication between us and God—a connection of love, understanding, and healing that sustains us. Yet often we can find ourselves distracted by the day to day, losing the focus to nurture our prayer lives simply by having a conversation with the One who loves us most. Have you ever found yourself tired and caught up in the events around you rather than resting in the peace God can provide?
Melissa Renner, Pastoral Leader of Stonebriar Women, shared her thoughts about spending time with God and how to keep your conversation with Him going.
I think there’s a big misconception that in order to pray, you must be in a dark, quiet place on your knees with your eyes shut and hands folded. Sure, that sounds ideal, but if prayer was limited by those stipulations, I wouldn’t get to pray till my kids went off to college! I was challenged years ago after reading this passage, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will in you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, NIV). I asked myself how in the world that would ever be possible? So, here’s what I do: I do pray continuously, but just not in a conventional way.
I love spending time with God while doing the dishes. As I wash each plate, I can thank God for both the food He provided as well as the friends or family that used that plate. Folding laundry is another time to pray. I can thank God for each person in my family as I fold their clothes while praying for their needs specifically. You can spend all day in prayerful conversation with God! Talk to Him when you’re driving (Thank you Lord for giving me a car that runs well . . . ), talk to Him when you’re at your destination (Thank you Lord for this parking space . . .). It sounds a bit corny, but you will immediately fall into the habit of seeing God everywhere and seeing Him working in every part of your life. As you spend more time with Him and include Him in all parts of your day, the closer to Him you will become. You will be blessed and changed by your ongoing conversations with the Lord.
Giving thanks in all circumstances can a difficult concept for many to comprehend. But it’s not an oblivious acceptance of every painful event, rather, it is a disciplined focus of intent to look for the blessings and the will of God even when we are hurting.
Tonnya Blaylock, Ministry Assistant of Preschool Pals, reflected on how sometimes the worst of times can lead to some of our strongest prayers.
One thing I have learned about my prayer life is that it is enriched through pain. It may not be the thing one wants to hear or acknowledge, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It is through pain that my prayer becomes deeper and more authentic. I love Psalm 31:7, which says “I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.”
And since prayer is about conversation with God, it includes listening as well as speaking. I have found in the past few years that sometimes I can be in the deepest communication with God when I am silent. Whether it is to be still and listen to a praise song or sit outside and let my senses become attuned to my surroundings . . . feeling the breeze, listening to the birds or the rustle of the leaves in the trees, or even just the sound of my own breath . . . in that moment, acknowledging that God is there with me, and that He loves me more than I can comprehend, I can choose to trust Him.
If you haven’t already, start your conversation with Him today.
–Keith Tyler, Pastor of Missional Living
“In place of our exhaustion and spiritual fatigue, God will give us rest. All He asks is that we come to Him . . . that we spend a while thinking about Him, meditating on Him, talking to Him, listening in silence, occupying ourselves with Him—totally and thoroughly lost in the hiding place of His presence.”
Pastor Chuck Swindoll