Posted by: Beth | April 11, 2021


This morning when I opened my phone and looked at the verse of the day, it was two words.  Just two.  I thought that could not be right, so I looked it up in context.  Sure enough, that verse is two words.  “Pray constantly.”  It isn’t even a whole sentence, although it could be.  It’s in the middle of a sentence.  In the middle of a chapter of very practical advice for everyday living.  But my mind kept coming back to these two words.  Pray constantly.

When you hear “pray constantly,” who comes to mind?  Nuns and monks?  Pastors and other church leaders?  The lady who sits on her porch rocking all afternoon? The grandpa who mutters to himself while he sleeps? The child who stares into space with a smile on his face?

What kind of words do you think of when you hear “pray”? Our father who art in heaven?  Now I lay me day to sleep?  Good food, good meat, good gosh let’s eat? Pleas for healing?  Wordless tears? A list of things you’re thankful for?  Begging for people to act right?

What postures do you see in your mind when you think of people praying?  Kneeling?  Standing at a pulpit? Sitting at a table and holding hands?  Beside a hospital bed?  Standing and gazing in awe at a waterfall?

All of these are possible.  And oh so many more. 

Other than alone, I’ve done most of my praying in a classroom of teenagers.  You never know what they’re going to say or ask.  I wanted to stay calm (that is, not get sent home myself), be honest, and lead them closer to the Lord. I had to talk with God quietly all day long, between snippets of South Carolina history, chemistry, and the tearful “she said that he said that I’m ______.”

How can we pray constantly?  Think of how often you talk with your best friends.  What do you talk about?  Talk about those things with him.  What comes out of our mouths spills from our hearts, and he already knows your heart so it’s doubtful you’ll surprise him.  And if you think it might be offensive, two things. One, he’s probably heard it before.  Two, maybe you should reconsider your thoughts?

      My favorite prayers are more like conversations. We share updates on things we’ve prayed about before. We talk about what’s happening in our lives.  We spend some moments thanking God. One or more of us will have a specific sin we need to confess.  Often it’s attitudes or words we’ve said that didn’t need to be said. Then one of us remembers more news about a family member or friend and we chat. Then one of us starts speaking directly to God again, lifting a praise or a petition.  Sometimes one of us will get an insight into a problem the other has and we’ll share that. Having a conversation that includes speaking directly to God and some time of quiet to hear that still, small voice is a meaningful way to pray.

      However you communicate with God, may it move toward being constant.  As you clean the kitchen, you can thank him for food to eat, electricity to prepare the food, and plumbing that brings clean water right into your home. You can pray for people who don’t have access to fresh water, even to drink.  You can lift up the people who drill wells and share the gospel.  Pray for all those who live the gospel …. mechanics who are honest, door dash drivers who deliver food, pharmacy employees who medicine, teachers who love on their students, pastors, IT personnel who keep the internet going, linemen who keep electricity coming to your home, first responders, child care personnel, warehouse workers, factory workers, the list goes on and on.   

            “Pray constantly.”  I Thessalonians 5:17


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