Ask someone when they pray, and you are often met with one of two responses: either they pray at a set time or times, like the morning, or at meals, or they pray all throughout their day, whenever they remember or are inspired to do so. Today’s challenge is a mix of both.
Day 28 of the Pray-May Challenge
Here’s what I encourage you to do: set aside 5 minutes every waking hour of today to pray. Only five minutes, consistently kept over the course of the day, adds up to well over an hour.
Why would we do that? Praying at set times has a long history within the Christian church, though the times are usually a little more spread out (and lasted a bit longer). Our brothers and sisters understood the value of a regular prayer rhythm, and we can follow their example. By praying at prearranged times, you become more conscious of the other 55 minutes, and your day becomes marked by conversation with God. What’s more, the act of stopping and talking to God, for a brief five minutes, will infuse your day with greater awareness of the Spirit’s presence and more openness to his promptings.
So how do we do this?
- Decide when you will pray, and set up an hourly alert system. Use your phone, set an alarm, or post a reminder of some sort that will interrupt you, if need be, to call you to prayer.
- Begin your day with a short prayer asking the Holy Spirit to help you in this day of intentional prayer.
- As you pray throughout the day, you may want to follow a similar form each time, or mix it up. You could pray using one of Paul’s prayers, the Lord’s Prayer, Mary’s prayer, or one of our many prayer challenges posted throughout May. Or you can simply talk to the Lord about the hour that’s passed, about your own heart and mind, about what you are thinking and feeling.
- One thing I do urge, however: praise God each time you stop to pray. Make praise central to your expression, whatever else you then go on to talk about with God. Our Father is worthy of our praise, any time, anywhere. “I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.” (Psalm 145:1-2 NIV)
- At the end of your day, I encourage you to take a few moments and reflect on how these intentional prayer times, interspersed as they where, affected you. What did you notice about your prayer times? How did the rest of your day go? What surprised you? What was difficult? What would you do differently? Will you do it again?
I’d love to hear how this impacted you, as well as ways it was a struggle. Post in the comments below.
My prayer for you today: Holy Spirit, each moment is a gift from you. Would you mark this day by an awareness of your presence with us? And each hour, as we stop to speak and to listen to you, may we receive all that you have for us. And may your name be praised, in us and through us. We offer this day to you, knowing that it is your gift to us. Amen.