|Two Girls Praying...Munier 1850|
In the Bible, particularly in the life of Jesus and in the Psalms, we see the value of daily times reading God's word and praying. We also see examples of getting away from it all in order to have even more focused time with the Lord. Finally, as when Nehemiah petitioned God before conversing with King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 2:4), we see the value of sending up short prayers throughout the day. This helps us express our dependence on the Lord.
We can, of course, become so busy that we forget to talk to our Lord about the events of our day. There are several things we can do to become more prayerful. Here are five that have helped me:
1) Take every opportunity to praise the Lord. The Psalms and other scriptures are full of prayers that begin with blessing God's name. Reading and memorizing these will help us develop the habit of praise, as well. We must also train our hearts to take notice of the good things that God pours into our laps and to respond in gratitude. Even things that we don't enjoy -- such as a long meeting or scrubbing a kitchen floor -- can be an opportunity to thank God for having a job or for having a kitchen to scrub. There are many in the world who have neither. We can rejoice that we have the strength to do our work, for many do not have that, either. We can also always rejoice in what Jesus has done for us.
Jewish culture is known for saying blessings throughout the day. Here is a Jewish blessing for trees: "Blessed are You - the Lord our God, King of the universe, who has withheld nothing from His world, but has created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees for the enjoyment of human beings."
2) When you do someone's laundry or clean someone's room, pray specifically for that person.
3) Tell yourself that you will pray every time you buckle your seat belt or every time you sit down to the computer or the like.
4) Make an appointment with yourself to pause at some designated time during the day for five to fifteen minutes of prayer. This should be in addition to your regular devotionals. Set an alarm or phone reminder.
5) When you walk in your neighborhood or drive through your town, pray for the people you see, for the homes you see, and for matters that affect your neighborhood, your community, and the nation. Keep a map of world countries, and pick one to pray about each day.
Most of us also say prayers of thanks at meal times. Don't think that these prayers are of little account, but put your heart into them. I once heard a woman say that when she was thinking of giving up on God, the habit she had learned as a child of thanking the Lord at each meal kept her heart in touch with Christ so much that her faith only grew stronger, instead.