Last night, I discussed what I pray for. Tonight, I want to discuss when I pray.
First, I want everyone to understand that I do not believe there is a specific or correct time to pray. Yes, there are some people who believe there is a correct time. Some religions teach this. Even Martin Luther believed there is a time in which to pray: “It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night.”
Many people make certain to cut aside a specific time of day for prayer. For some, this is first thing in the morning. They will read a devotional, and say a prayer before their busy day. For some, this is in the evening, before they lay down for sleep at night. And there truly is nothing wrong with this. It takes a great deal of self-discipline, and perhaps a bit of sacrifice, to be able to assure this set prayer time happens.
For me – with a disabled husband, and six children, and a full time job, and all the other craziness in my life…. And for the simple fact that I have no self-discipline… I find it very difficult to cut out a specific time. God gets prayers from me at random times throughout the day.
I often converse with God while I am walking to work in the morning, when the town is still and nature is so incredibly lovely and peaceful. I find this a perfect time and a perfect environment for prayer. How can we not pray and give thanks to the Lord when we are surrounded by such beauty created by Him?
I converse with Him again on my way home, although this is different. After 8 hours of intellectually challenging work, it’s difficult to notice the environment around me. This time, the prayer is more just a “oh thank you Lord for helping me make it through another day!” If I’m still frazzled and frustrated from the workday, I will often drop off my purse and coffee at home, then take a longer walk to brush off the workday, until I reach that point where I can truly focus my thoughts on the Lord.
One of my favorite times to pray is while I am showering. There is something about the water pouring over me, cleansing me, that brings me closer to Him. It is here where I will trace a cross on my forehead. It is here where I will allow the tears to flow should they need to. It is here I have the most intimate conversations with God.
I tend to pray again at night, right after I climb under the covers. I’ve even fallen asleep conversing with God (sorry Lord!). And, I will pray at random other times throughout the day as I find necessary… or as I feel God speaking to me.
And, one of the most important times I pray…?
How many times has someone called you, or emailed you, or posted on Facebook or Google+, asking you to please pray for someone? How many times have you replied “Oh yes, I will be sure to pray for him/her!”? How many times have you followed through with that?
For me…. When someone requests this of me, I drop what I am doing right then and there and take a few seconds to throw a prayer up to heaven. I don’t wait until a specific time – I know I’d forget to include that person in my prayers if I wait. So I do it immediately. It only takes a few moments.
God doesn’t mind those quick calls –
“God, please be with…”
“Thank you Lord for this weather!”
“Praise to you Lord for this miracle!”
“God please grant me peace…”
One thing I have heard of, but have not done yet myself – drop everything and offer to pray right at that moment with the person making the request. I think this is a fabulous idea.
I don’t believe the when makes a difference, so long as we all cut out time to have these conversations with our Lord. God gives us so much – even when it feels we have nothing. Cutting out time throughout our day to remember this is the least we can do.
What works for you? When do you pray?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for taking the time to be here for me whenever I call on you. Please continue to be with me throughout my day, and continue to bless me with the ever-present proof of your existence and presence. Hear my words in the early hours of the morning, when all is still and peaceful and full of beauty. Hear me in the evening when the chaos of the day is weighing on me. Be with me as I allow your Spirit to cleanse me. And be with me as I lay my head to rest with your name upon my lips.
In Jesus’ name, Amen