“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.” C.S. Lewis
Something that I have always struggled with the concept and implication of prayer in daily life. How does one really pray continuously? Why am instructed to in pray so often? I have moved away from trying to the have right and eloquent words to talk to God. I just talk… and listen. These are a few things that have helped me start cultivating a life of prayer.
Saying the Jesus prayer: It is really quite a simple little prayer that has been used for centuries in the Church. It has variations, but the one that I say is along the lines of “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” And what I mean by saying the prayers, I mean muttering under my breath like a semi-crazed person. In the book “The Lost Virtue of Happiness,” Moreland and Issler talks about using the Jesus prayer to redirect one’s thoughts towards God. It is not a form prayer, not some magic formula. But it is done out of repetition, it reminder of the who we am and who God is and that we need him. It is a reminder to me that it is by God’s grace that I am saved from my sin- that I still need God’s strength to resist temptation; it moves the focus off myself to God. This cultivates a life of not only prayer, but worship as well.
Changing how I text: I have replaced the word “hope” with “pray” when I text when appropriate to better to reflect want to say. This is one of the most simple things I have started doing. I use to use the word “hope” in my texts, “I hope you are doing well” “I hope your trip goes well.” Now see it with “pray” “I pray you are doing well” “I pray your trip goes well.” This word reflects my true intentions- I am really praying these things for these people. Being consciences of the words I use makes me more intentional in the way I speak in conversation It reminds me to actually to be in prayer about these thing, to be lifting these maters up in prayer.
Recalling scripture/Integrating classroom learning with Bible: I am finding that all much of my studies lead me back to scripture. That I a bit in part due to the fact that Biola seeks to integrate the Word with all field of study, it does help that I am also a communication major. However, I am finding even in my personal studies, scripture is being called to mind. Maybe this is a result of more prayer, a change of mindset due to prayer and reading scripture.
Reading the News: Being that I live in a proverbial bubble, it is very easy to be disconnected from the outside world. Instead of opening Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (have deleted two of the three apps from my phone); I open my news app and pray through items listed- world, national, local. By practicing this moves focus of myself and reminds me that I need God, that the world needs God, that I am no the center of the world.
I am realizing that these little things are changing how I look at the world and need to pray. It has made me recognize I am nothing without God and that I need him and prayer is an avenue to acknowledge that and turn my ear towards him.