Like Martha in the Bible, I have lots to do—office work, writing projects, laundry, cooking, cleaning. Just this week, for instance, I had a deadline to meet, my daughter-in-law was hospitalized, and I cared for her baby. Add in meals to cook, a household to run, a prayer group to lead, and preparation for an overseas ministry trip. It's a real challenge to squeeze in time for prayer!
I used to think, If I don't pray at a certain time of day, then my prayers don't really count. Then my prayer life underwent a radical transformation. I discovered the apostle Paul's command to "pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) means more than just spending a lot of time in prayer; it means sharing a continual dialogue with God wherever I go.
The truth that God listens to my prayers wherever I am didn't sink in until my son, Chris, left to attend a university 20 hours from home. Oh, how I missed hearing his voice! Busy with premed classes, intramural basketball, and studying, Chris didn't call often. But once in a while, the phone would ring, and it would be Chris. I'd drop everything—the project I was working on, dinner preparations—just to hear my son's voice.
One day I realized God feels the same way about me, only hundreds of times more, because I'm his child (John 1:12)! Whether I'm walking, driving across town, or sending a prayer heavenward from my computer, he delights in hearing from me—not just once a day, but throughout the day. Scripture says he "inclines his ear" and is "open to hear" my prayers (Psalm 40:1 34:15).
I became even more excited about the effects of praying continuously when I noticed that throughout the Bible, God used short prayers to accomplish great things—such as raising the dead or parting the Red Sea. It dawned on me that thoughts such as, But I can't pray long enough, or If I can't pray one hour, then why pray? have no biblical basis. It's wonderful to have longer sessions of prayer when I can, but remembering that my short prayers can have a big impact encourages me to pray throughout the day.
Whether you're married or single, with or without children, you probably struggle with your prayer life as I did with mine. The good news is, you don't have to put either life or prayer on hold. Here's how to begin building a 24/7 prayer life.
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For Further StudyDownloadable resources to go deeper
- Carolyn Custis James: What It Means to Be a Woman in MinistryeBook Format Available! Author and speaker Carolyn Custis James offers leadership insights for women.