Never Cease Praying
On this 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, I love Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is not only teaching His disciples but all of us how to pray. When I was little, for some reason I had the thought that God didn’t hear our prayers unless we were sitting in a quiet place (or church), with our hands folded, reciting prayers that we learned in school. It wasn’t until I was older and entered into my youth group meeting one night that a lesson on “praying” was being taught and it changed my entire world. God not only hears us in the quiet little corners, but He hears us every single second of every day. He hears us in the songs we use for prayer, in the normal conversations, in between the pages of a journal, in meditation, down the nature trail, and everything else in between.
As a youth minister, I know those of us who work or volunteer in the church can have our prayer lives fall to the wayside because we are so focused on everyone else that we don’t always take time for ourselves to be filled up. For myself, I rarely find time where I can just sit and be still, so my prayer life has definitely turned into “on the way to work” praying, and using songs to praise God while I play worship music in my office. It’s definitely not ideal, but I have learned that God just wants to hear from us. He will always meet us where we are at.
On days where I’m at a loss for words, I use the JOY acronym. (Jesus, others, myself) This is a very easy and simple way to praise God for all the blessings He has given us, praying for others who I love and hold closest to my heart, and then any intentions that I need guidance and strength on. Another one is, “Jesus I trust in you”, and “God, please guide my thoughts and steps today and everyone who I come in contact with”.
Prayer is as simple and beautiful as that. I know for some it’s harder to think like this because of how simple it may seem. I was there most of my life, but in the fast lane world we live in and more importantly trying to survive in, it’s the prayers no matter how big, small, long, or short that we can make habit that gets us through our day, gives us hope, peace, joy and calmness. It can be done in the most random places and it will still be found pleasing to God.
Never cease to stop praying. Whether you want to shout it from the rooftops, be alone in a quiet place, singing in the car, journaling before bed, I promise it will change your heart, life, and attitude for the better. You just need not cease.