Even though he did not use the exact words each time, there are at least four distinct places where Paul calls you to a life of disciplined prayer:
• Pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17)
• Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer (Romans 12:12)
• With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity (Ephesians 6:18)
• Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.
When you read the verses above are you overwhelmed? Do you wonder, “How can I pray without ceasing?” Does God actually expect me to do what Paul instructs these believers to do—pray constantly and consistently?
The answer is to this is yes and no. Practically speaking, it is impossible to be on your knees and in prayer every moment and second of life, but that isn’t what Paul calls you to do. I think Paul’s idea of prayer is to have an attitude of prayer.
You begin to maintain the habit of prayer when you “set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2).” How will you know when you are doing this?
A habit of prayer is being developed when you:
• Begin to live with a God-consciousness—everything you see and experience becomes a kind of prayer
• Are tempted, you immediately go to God and ask for His help
• See the good in someone or experience the beauty of nature, you thank the Lord for it.
• Meet someone, you have a concern for their spiritual well-being
Paul may had an extraordinary prayer life, but remember that he was still just an ordinary person; and, what Paul did, you can do as well. I encourage you to fine-tune your attitude of prayer by giving careful consideration to these words of Paul:
“Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them.
Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a chance to make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not to cut them out. (Colossians 4 ~The Message).”
To get started, read the Scripture above with each meal you eat, and before you go to bed. Do it more than just today—practice it each day for the rest of this week.