Prayer: a better way: How to pray throughout the day
But, how do you pray continually when you have to focus on the many tasks and responsibilities in front of you? This isn’t an encouragement to neglect our responsibilities but to keep a continuing conversation with God in the midst of our full lives. Talk to God whenever something is brought to mind and heart even while you’re doing other things.
Something To Talk About:
This following pattern can be a useful tool for developing an ongoing conversation with God and a life that is saturated in prayer and increasingly shaped by God’s presence. Remember, unless you stay connected to the power source, you’re going nowhere.
- Get up with gratitude: Don’t start your day with confession or requests. Start with gratitude. Think about God and His goodness. Tell him He’s a good Father, thanking Him for being caring, close, and consistent. List the ways He’s been good to you. You don’t have to worry about the right thing to say. Just say what you feel and what’s on your mind.“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (James 1:17) Remember that God is in control and that today is not the end of the story…..God is still on the throne and will remain there for eternity.
- Bless God at breakfast: Dinner and mealtime prayers are essential conversations with God. Sitting down to eat provides time to reflect on the day, thank God, and bring our concerns before Him. Paul tells us to: “ Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Praising God focuses our minds and hearts on the truth of who He is and what He does and generates confidence for relying on His presence so that our life reflects the reality of who He is to others. Praise God and anticipate what God will do throughout your day.
- At mid-morning remember what matters most: Do you ever feel like, “Okay, it’s halfway through the day or halfway through the morning, and I’ve lost my focus, I’ve lost the big perspective?” That’s when you need to pray. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer. You just sit down at your desk. Go out to your truck, or go in a restroom, or go sit in your car. Take a minute. Take five minutes. Then at mid-morning, remember what matters most. Every day when you get up, you need to remind yourself what counts and what doesn’t count. Don’t be distracted by what’s inconsequential and petty in life. Why is this an important habit? Have you noticed how easy it is to lose your joy over some small thing? It’s usually the small irritations that cause you to lose your happiness. Align your heart with God’s purposes and plans, praying for Gods’ guidance in your own life, His kingdom’s purposes in your community and the world, and asking Him to use you for His glory. “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
- List your needs at lunch: Lunchtime is a good time for you to talk to God about all the things you need while you are eating a sandwich. That can remind you of the fourth phrase. “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11) Bread represents everything you need. It represents money. It could represent resources. It could represent contacts. It can represent a husband or a girlfriend or a wife. It can represent anything you want or need. It’s the stuff that fulfills you. It’s the stuff that sustains you. Trust His provision bringing to the Lord, both, your own needs and the needs of others, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially.
- Ask for forgiveness and forgive others in the afternoon: Ask for forgiveness in the afternoon. Take a little prayer break in the afternoon and talk to God. Ask Him, “Lord, is there anything in my life I need to clean out? Is there any sin?” Trust God’s grace, and release to Him your failures and mistakes, sins of commission and omission. Rely on His grace, forgiveness, power, and presence to forgive those who’ve offended, frustrated, annoyed, or wounded you. So on the way home or late afternoon: “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.” (Matthew 6:12) Confess your sins and forgive others who’ve hurt you.
- Ask God to help you make wise decisions and protect you from making dumb ones: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13) By the end of the day, we’re usually tired and hungry and running on emotional reserves. Draw upon His presence to respond to challenges, conflict, and trials with God’s truth and grace rather than react with your most initial and instinctual thoughts and feelings. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Remember the temptations that attack especially hard when you’re tired.
- End your day with encouraging truth: To live with purpose, you need to end your day well. End your day with a benediction—a good word. There is no better word than God’s Word. Read some promises from God. Be encouraged by truth, like this last line from the Lord’s Prayer: “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13 AMP). This verse reminds you that God is in control and that God wins in the end. Go to bed praising God for the truth that He is in charge, and this is not the end of the story.
- Why should you want God to bless your schedule? In what areas do you want God to give you greater influence?
- We should get up each morning with a prayer of gratitude. What are some other practical ways you can begin and continue the practice of starting the day with gratitude to God? How does starting your day being thankful set the tone for the rest of the day?
- Why is breakfast a good time to bless God’s name?
- Why is it important to remember what matters most sometime during the day?
- Why is it important to list your needs during the day as well?
- Is forgiving those who wronged you a daily activity? If not should it be?
- Why should recalling God’s faithfulness in the past give you peace about whatever you are facing each day?
- What one step can you take today to start the habit of ending your day with a good word from God’s Word?
- What was one thing you found particularly interesting, insightful, helpful, or difficult to understand from this sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
“Reverence for God adds hours to each day; so how can the wicked expect a long, good life?” (Proverbs 10:27 TLB) Do you have a reverent attitude toward God? And does it impact the way you pray to Him, refer to Him, and worship Him? Reverence flows out of a relationship of knowing Who God is and responding appropriately. And reverence is something God commanded and still expects from us every day. Practice reverence daily. In Matthew 6:9, Jesus taught His followers to begin their prayers by addressing God as “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name” or “Let your name be treated with reverence.”