For this week’s Monday Minute, Claudia shares with us how God has been cultivating a heart for prayer moment by moment. For those of us who long to pray without ceasing, this is wonderful encouragement.
Growing in Prayer Moment by Moment
by Claudia Duff
Quarantine has been difficult for me. I am an extreme introvert and solitude is my jam, but this is a bit different, isn’t it? This is not exactly solitude, it feels more like isolation and that is what has begun to grip my heart moment by moment. I am sure I am not alone.
Being retired Navy and living outside of a military community has forced us to make new friends and build a new community. Just as we started to do that we were quarantined. It’s difficult to build community when you have to stand six feet apart. I realized quickly that our community had become very small and it seems to get smaller by the hour.
In this very unsettled season, anxiety has been a constant battle for my heart and soul. Again, I know I am not alone. There is a lot of talk about what is the good that has come out of being home. I wish I could tell you some big and grand things have happened. Mostly I have learned that prayer is the only thing that will draw my heart away from angst and into the presence of a faithful God.
I have also learned that there is no set way for this to take place.
I can speak my prayers aloud, write them in my journal, or whisper them in my heart. God will hear me, every, single, time I pray. I discovered what “prayer without ceasing” means for me. There is a constant stream of prayers in my soul. They are not grand, just whispers of what I am feeling. Sometimes they are jumbled but other times they get straight to the point. “Lord, help me see what is next. I don’t want to miss it.” Mostly they are streams of thought and usually Scripture-based. I call them my “breath prayers.” Because they have become the breath of life to me. They are sustaining me and they are tying my heart to the heart of God. We are breathing together and I can feel the difference.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16 ESV
What a gift of direction for every believer. It’s a recipe for communion with our Lord with a guarantee of a successful outcome. Prayer is a sure thing, there is no chance involved, only a covenant promise that when we seek him we will find him and receive all he has for us. Even better, we receive it when we need it the most! No waiting, no social distancing involved.
Sign me up! What’s next?
I find that if I spend time with God every morning my day makes better sense to me. Meaning that my anxiety holds a tighter grip when I am unable to combat the fears of my heart with Scripture. I have the luxury of time, no small children and my husband is a professor who has been working from his home office. Meaning I only see him when he breaks for lunch and then I just throw food at him and he disappears back into his hideyhole. Yet I struggle with giving my time to Jesus first. On a good day I start with a recitation of a personal prayer I wrote for myself the moment I realize I am still on the earth. Basically as soon as I open my eyes and before leaving my bed, I pray.
I realize not everyone has the time to do this. However, I encourage you to make your own prayer time in the morning. Even and especially if it is only for a moment to breathe out a prayer to God, do it. I am sure by now you have come to understand that this is a part of every blog I write, “spend time with God even if it’s just a moment, do it.”
Because I know from experience God is faithful to multiply whatever we trust him with, including our time.
When I had small Dufflings every moment was precious. I gave up going to the bathroom without company for about a decade. So, trust me I get it. Time is a precious commodity. There were times when I would just drop to my knees next to the couch in the middle of our school day (we homeschooled before it was ordered, lol!). Soon I would find my Dufflings dropping to their knees one by one on either side of me. I am not sure if they were being devout or were just scared! I basically breathed out prayer like a “deer that panteth” and it worked every time.
Find your own personal prayer time and make it work for you. It will require effort, commitment, and sacrifice but it is worth it.
How Praying Without Ceasing Looks For Me
Trust is the key for me. When I trust that God will hear every prayer, even the silent ones I can pray without ceasing. It becomes natural and seamless. One of my favorite prayers is Psalm 34.
Read: Psalm 34:4-5 ESV
Reflect: Journal how you have seen the Lord deliver you in present situations.
Respond: Take a minute to write down your fears in your journal. Find a Scripture to pray over each of them and commit to praying until you see change.
Lord, I am thankful for your goodness and that makes me trust you. As I commit to seek you in all things especially the hard stuff, make me grateful for your constant abiding presence. Help me to pray before fretting and confident that you hear all of my prayers, even the whispered ones. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.