Pray Continually: Improving My Prayer Life
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Pray continually 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV).
It's one of the simplest, yet powerful verses in the bible. The verse with the surrounding verses reads as follows: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (NIV). Upon reading many commentaries, you find that the Book of 1 Thessalonians is Paul's encouragement and basic message to the Thessalonians to keep up the good work.
So how do I apply this to my homemaking/motherhood?
Essentially, I need to do better. I need to pray more for my children, my family, our home and rejoice in those things. Just as in my marriage vows, for better or worse, I need to give thanks in ALL circumstances. Wonderful days lift me up. Hard days are challenging.
But those hard days always teach me something I needed, whether I realize it in the moment or not. And I need to give thanks for those hard moments, sometimes as difficult as that can be. It's so easy to rejoice and be thankful for the good days. Because sometimes, they are few and far between during some seasons of life.
Rejoicing in the difficult times, for me, also helps me remember that storms help me grow stronger when I rely on Him instead of myself. When I quit wallowing in the bad and pray for the good to come out of it. For the lessons I need to learn to become apparent to me and be tucked away in my heart.
Being thankful for the hard and easy days can strengthen us
Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks. It's kind of my new mantra in our home. When my toddler throws a tantrum, I have a teachable moment for him and for myself. I need to rejoice that I am able to spend time with my children, pray for their well-being, and give thanks for God giving them to us to raise.
When my preschooler (goodness, when did he get old enough to stop calling a toddler?!?) loves on me, I need to rejoice in his affection, pray for his heart, and give thanks that he still will cuddle with mommy.
But I don't have time...
Oh, but you do sister, you do! I know in the staying home business we begin to feel like there is so much going on. This one needs a diaper change, this one needs to be wiped, this one needs help with school work, dinner needs to be prepped, dishes need to be washed, clothes need to be folded and put away, soccer practices need to be attended, etc. But if God tells us to "pray continually", why then do we make the excuse we don't have time?
Because we don't take the time...
It's sometimes a hard pill to swallow. I'll be completely honest with you, I need to do a better job in my prayer life. I'm pretty bad at it some days. My mind and heart get so wrapped up in what I think I need to do for the day that I lose sight of my prayer life and what God has for me that particular day. Then I miss out on so many things He has for me because I'm not paying attention. I'm not having conversation with Him regularly.
Let me tell you, my devotional time doesn't look like what it used to B.C. (before children!). I used to be able to sit for an hour while praying, reading my bible and a devotional or 2. But I've had many a seasoned mother help guide me in this area. When I had a newborn, I focused on 1 verse of the bible at a time. For the week. Now, I have a toddler and preschooler so sometimes I can sit for 30 minutes or more and actually take the time.
In any circumstance, whether my devotional life looks like focusing all week on one verse of the bible or sitting and praying and reading the bible for hours, the take away is that it's about spending time with Him in all I do.
But as far as prayer goes, I still need help in that area.
I have noticed what helps me to stay in prayer through the day outside of a devotional time is to take a verse a week and place it on a Post-it note (I love the colored ones). Right now, my Post-it goes on the ledge above my sink. Mommy spends much of the day at this sink, mainly because I have 2 small children and no dishwasher. Sigh. Maybe one day.
Being sans dishwasher, however, has honestly helped my prayer life in a weird way. During this mundane activity, my boys play in the den and I can look through the old window ledge and keep an eye on them. But I can also pray, with the handy reminder of my Post-it verse.
Find out what works for you!
My Post-it plan works best for me. It took me a while to figure out that would help keep me focused. There was DEFINITELY a multitude of trial and error. I did all sorts of things like setting reminders on my phone, trying to keep a prayer journal, wearing a hair tie on my wrist, etc. You have to find what works for you. What will keep you in prayer.
Regardless of what works for you, we are to rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances. Parenthood is a rough season of life. Each new stage holds it's own challenges that sometimes bring our attention away from our walk with God. But we don't have to let that take away from our prayer life or our joy.
Bring prayer back in
Take back your prayer life. Give yourself grace as God does, but continue to pursue your prayer life with intensity. Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks. As hard as you think it is at times, do it. When you think you're too busy, pray. If you feel like you're being stretched too thin, pray. When your children test your patience, when the laundry piles up, when you don't think you can make it through the day without losing your mind...
Join me in memorizing 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 this week! I use the Post-it method and I encourage you to find what reminder method works best for you. Write it in your mind and on your heart so that you can bring your prayer life back to life!