Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
I have recently fallen in love with the practice of prayer. I don’t know why it has taken me so many years to begin to understand the life-changing power of praying.
I have listened to sermons about prayer, read articles, and chapters of books about it. I have recited prayers by rote. I have prayed aloud, with others, and for others. I have often prayed for meals. But it has always been, well just lifeless. I don’t think I ever really believed I was communicating with God.
And I have had some really powerful experiences with prayer – answered prayers. Corporate prayers. But, for the most part, I have just not been a person who prayers every day (or even once a week).
A few weeks ago, my bible study leader encouraged us all to pray. I ignored the encouragement. Just words. The heavens are brass (see Deuteronomy 28:23).
And then I received a text from said leader asking if we’d been praying. I responded that I always forget. And she suggested I pray while driving. So I said I would, and I usually do what I say I will do, so I did.
I prayed all the way to work for my students, my students’ families, my coworkers, everyone who came to mind. And I had a really good day. I felt empathy for my students. I listened to them more closely. I started to like my coworkers more.
On the way home, I prayed for my family, church members, neighbors, and everyone else who came to mind. And the blessings continued. I pay more attention to others. To what they need and want. To their hurts and their feelings.
I continue to pray. It has completely changed my relationships.