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?