Friday, October 23, 2009

Prayer without ceasing.

I've discovered something wonderful. It IS possible to "pray without ceasing" in a sense I haven't heard much about. I started doing it and then found someone writing about it and I wish I could remember who, now, but maybe it will come to me, possibly one of the speakers at the Revival Conference I listened to recently. I also then discovered that Jonathan Edwards wrote of praying what they used to call "ejaculatory prayers" all day long, just prayers sent up to the Lord in the midst of doing other things. Just to be clear, I've done this all my Christian life, but not to the extent I'm doing it now.

And then I remembered that Saint Patrick prayed a hundred times a day for six years to be rescued from slavery in Ireland before the Lord answered. That did not appeal to me at all, I must say, as the prospect of praying for long periods without an answer is just too discouraging and I figured I'd lose faith. I couldn't imagine being able to make myself pray so consistently with such a sense of futility about it.

What makes the difference is that prayer is pleasant in itself, it's a connection to the Lord and keeps your mind on Him as well as the subject of your prayer.

It's a big help for me because discipline is so hard for me. Having set times for anything is hard. So this solves that problem and I think it's going to have all kinds of spiritual benefits I can only guess at, some already starting to emerge.

Just praying all day long whenever your mind is free at all, when you're doing physical work for instance, when you're driving around town, when you wake up in the middle of the night. I always thought I'd have to get out of bed or sit up or kneel, and that would sometimes just be too hard; but just lying there with my mind constantly asking the Lord for help with this or that now seems acceptable. I find myself now waking up in the morning with a hymn or praise song going through my mind.

Praying for all the things you'd pray for in a scheduled prayer session, praying for each situation as you encounter it too, though I find myself focusing on a particular concern more than the others lately and have been getting some leadings from the Lord about it. Also just worshiping and praising.