8.22.2005

Prayer triggers - Tripping your prayer switch


How many times have you gotten ready to climb into bed at night and realized that you never spoke a word to your Heavenly Father during the entire day? You know (or at least I hope so -- you've been reading your Bible, right?) that Scripture tells us to pray "at all times" (Eph 6:18)! But so often we pray at meals and at church, forgetting to incorporate prayer into each part of our lives! So how exactly can we pray all the time? I've found it very helpful to develop little triggers that remind me to pray throughout the day. (Some of these are my mom's!)

Sirens are a great reminder to pray, both for the folks involved in the emergency, and for friends and family who are struggling with medical issues. Don't you think police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and doctors would appreciate your prayers as they deal with the situations they face each day as part of their jobs? Of course! So when you hear a siren go past your house, take a moment to lift up the situation to God, who knows all the details.

When I'm driving in traffic (which stresses me out a LOT), I try to remember to pray for the people driving around me. Do they know Christ? Does God mean anything to them besides a swear word? I pray that God would reveal Himself to them and stir their hearts to want to know Him more. It's then that I remember that my ultimate purpose on Earth is to honor God, not to get from point A to point B more quickly!

I am so blessed to be going to seminary! My professors pray at the start of every class -- this is an amazing way to season my entire school day with prayer! But just because some of you all don't have professors who lead prayer each day, it doesn't mean you too can't pray before each one of your classes, or at the start of a new task at work. Why not pray for God's hand on the lesson as you sit down at your desk? Or why not pray that God will reveal opportunities to share the Gospel with folks you come in contact with at work?

Every time you sit down at your computer, pray that God would give you a desire to keep your thoughts pure by visiting only sites that would honor Him, and that He would motivate you by the Holy Spirit to be focused on the task at hand. Taped to the edge of my computer screen are 3 pieces of paper. One says, "I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. Psalm 101:3." Another says, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:6." The last one simply says, "STEWARDSHIP." I know that God has given me the responsibility to spend the time He has given me on this Earth wisely. That may mean cancelling my cable. That may mean grounding myself from the internet for
a while. But it definitely means that I know that I will answer to God about how I spent every hour of my life.


Quick-draw triggers:
-when you sit down to do your homework (you DO do your homework, right?), thank God for the opportunity and ability to learn. Pray for your teachers and fellow students. Pray for God's guidance in your life. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you the diligence to study well.
-as you file away your pictures from this summer, pray for each person in the photos. Pray that they would be drawn closer to God and that they would be encouraged in their faith journeys.
-while you're watching TV, pray for the celebrities you see. They need Jesus too! Or better yet, turn off the TV, pick up your Bible, and spend some time hanging out with your Creator!

-when you're cleaning up your room, pray for those who don't have a place to sleep or a change of clothes. When you're cleaning the kitchen, pray for those who live in such poverty that they can't afford to eat on a regular basis.

There are so many ways for us to incorporate prayer into our lives. Can you imagine how different your day might be if you prayed at every time mentioned above? What are some other ways you can make prayer an automatic part of your day?

15 comments:

Annaleigh said...

Wow Laura,
This is really great. I just got done with my FIRST college class- Introduction to American Government and Politics- and given the nature of the class and the topic of the blog, I think the two have something in common. While reading this post and thinking back on my last class, I realized, like my professor said, how truly lucky I am to even be going to college and to have this sort of education. It's hard to get into college in America as a citizen, I can't imagine how hard it would be in another country. I truly am blessed and God:Thank you so much for giving me thi opportunity to expand my knowledge and use it to better this world for you. Amen.

God Bless y'all!

Tom said...

Typically when I miss an accident on the road, I typically start a prayer of thankfulness while my heart is still pounding afterwards. I wished I had more times I would have a trigger and start praying....outside the normal ones that is.

Allison said...

wahoo! I LOVE THIS! this sounds really harsh... but one of our youth leaders was teaching one night, and he said... if you dont pray, then you dont love God... i dont know how accurate that statement is.. but if you think about it.. its pretty true..... i mean, if you love someone, you like to talk to them, you dont just become friends and then never communicate.. right? Any thoughts on this anyone?

Pastor John said...

More prayer triggers:

When you hear a dog bark -- pray for its owner!

When you're waiting in line at the store -- pray for the people in front of you and the check-out clerk!

When you hear thunder -- pray for safety!

When you hear an airplane or helicopter -- pray for the pilots and the people on board!

When you walk through a door-way -- pray for God to open doors for the Gospel in your life!

When you see a rainbow -- pray and thank God for His covenant-keeping commitment to you!

When you buckle your seatbelt -- pray and ask God to send His angels around you!

When you drive by a church-building -- pray for the expansion of God's kingdom and boldness in your witness to the lost.

Anybody else have some more prayer-triggers?

Russ said...

Laura,

Awesome post! I am sorry I am just now getting around to reading it. Prayer is so huge. You know the old saying, "We are too busy NOT to pray."

A development of such a "trigger system", is so valuable. I had never really thought about that before. Whatever it takes! :)

Dan Carr said...

Prayer triggers are a great idea!

I just saw one of the most beautiful sunsets of my life. I swear the sky was singing. It brought me away from my usual lackluster enthusiam about prayer and back to a heart of worship.

It reminded me of God's presence and relevence in my life, and I would like to pass on some things that came to mind:

Two weeks ago I was traveling down to Shiprock NM (on the Navajo reservation) for a little mission trip with a Methodist youth group I atend. Early the night before, our pastor fell dangerously ill and was rushed to a hospital with his wife. Without leadership, our youth group fell into anarchy. Our two chaparones were anxious and several kids wanted to go home because of sports or their job, etc.
Well anyway, everyone but me wanted to go home. They had all prayed and thought and thought and prayed. Despite my lack of support, I knew that God wanted us to go. (God had been preparing me for this) After two more hours of arguing and drama and tears and prayer, God provided us another adult leader (my dad) who God had suddenly freed from several obligations. My dad was to meet us in Shiprock the next day.
The youth group then climbed into our two mini-vans and head into the mountains for our second travel day. We went over a pass and started heading down a very long winding steep hill. About 3/4 of the way down, the front van jerked randomly into a pull off for a viewpoint. The other driver was angry at this because we had discussed that we were not going to stop for anything because it was getting late. Both vans smacked into the curb; our brakes had just given out, particularly in my van. The curb prevented us from flying off a cliff. Beyond where we randomly turned was a long very steep section of road followed by a very steep turn away from a rock face. We fumbled out of the vans into the smoke from the breaks and slowly piece together that we had all just about died.
Later in the week, a head injury left one of our members practically paralyzed. He lost the ability to talk and could only hold up a few pounds of his own weight. 24 hours later he was fine.
Our pastor who had nearly died all but recoved, but he now needs surgery.

To make a long story short, God went with us to Shiprock and he brought us all back.

With all this in mind, I would like to pass on another idea: praise triggers-
(kinda the point of creation, eh?)

well thanks and God bless


ps Pray for Del Hanson, (the methodist pastor) who has a surgery in a few weeks that will leave him incapable of most physical activity for the rest of his life.

Sue said...

Hey Laura, great post. I agree with Allison's youth leader that if you don't pray, you don't love God. That's not meant to condemn anyone who hasn't learned how to pray at all. It's meant as a reminder that God loves our prayer, and if we're not praying, we're not loving God in the way that blesses Him and makes Him feel loved. We're missing out on opportunities to be "loving" to God. They don't have to be long, flowery prayers. Some of my best prayers are simply, "Hello Lord Jesus. I love you. Thanks for being here with me, and thanks for inviting me to be with You." And when I'm feeling anxious, afraid, whatever, I often just close my eyes and say "Lord, please help me." He knows better than I do what I need to be helped, so I don't always elaborate. He's never let me down. God bless you all. Thanks, Sue

Laura said...

Sue! Sue! Yay! SO great to hear from you! (Thanks, Dan, for passing the email along!) It is so true that we often don't know just what to say, which makes me really glad that God knows everything and doesn't need my perfect expression of my emotions. Also, Sue, that's a great point about "flowery" language. God created you, as you are (though He doesn't want you to stay that way forever)! That means you don't have to use some 90-year-old's King James English to talk to Him. And just to add something to Sue's point: don't hide your emotions from God when you pray. Be honest! If you're mad, tell Him! If you're doubting Him, tell Him! He can handle it, and He knows how you're feeling anyway! And when you reveal your heart to God, it allows Him to give you the comfort and the encouragement (or the kick in the pants) you need.

Come on, Russ! I check your blog every day! How about a little support. (By the way, y'all, if you haven't followed the link to "Soma's" blog, I strongly urge you to do so. I promise you'll be encouraged by what God has given him to say.)

Jonna said...

Awesome, awesome. I love the idea of prayer triggers. One of the triggers I have is to pray for my future spouse not only when I have my regular prayer time, but also when I go through yellow--not red, people--lights when I am driving. I also used this time to send additional prayers for my MAD staff. (Adapted this one from Johnny Jones.)

I agree with your Youth Group pastor as well, Allison, I do believe that you will talk to God if you love Him. How in the world do you get to know someone if you never say one word to them? How drab my world would be without prayer. Most of the beauty would drain right out of it. Share your heart with the beautiful one.

Sue...how good it is to see your words here. God is very good.

Allison said...

Hey, Laura.... what is Dave's email address? Because Im not sure if the one that is on the address list is right. Thanks!

Jonna said...

Hey, all. I want to apologize for any confusion I may have caused with my statement about praying for my future mate. I am not engaged, nor will I be in the forseeable future. (Yes, I have a college degree, I can make up words as I see fit. :)) I like to pray very specifically and do believe that God has someone prepared just for me and me just for him. So, trusting in God's infinite wisdom, I pray specifically. Thus, if this is not His plan for me, I lose nothing because I seek God's heart and face and build a relationship with Him in the process. And, you all know that when that day actually comes, you will all probably be the first to know...

Pastor John said...

Hey, everyone, the book about David McDonnall (former MAD-Camper) is out now. You have to read it: "Facing Terror." Written by his widow. Deb and I are reading it -- you talk about moving you to pray for Muslims!!!

Russ said...

Laura,

When is the next awesome post going to come up?? :) This is a great post, but I am looking forward to the next one. I have been trying to incorporate new triggers into my life because of this.

Laura said...

Russ, and everyone,
The next post is on its way... be patient!

Laura said...

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?
isbn=1591453437&event=AFF&p=1014375

Here is a link to the book dad mentioned. It sounds really amazing!