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When do you pray?
Brother Lawrence taught us to “practice the presence.”
Maybe you are like me, and you realize that standing at a monastery sink all day would give you plenty of time to talk to God. It seems a bit different than working on a computer, working at a construction site or working any of the myriad jobs that we have to pay the bills.
Keeping a running dialogue with God while driving 60 mph, listening to your teen’s latest saga, contemplating your latest deliverable at work and trying to figure out how you should reduce the church’s utility bill takes practice.
Here are some ideas that might help—I’d love to hear what works and what doesn’t:
Monday: Thankfulness. Spend today practicing thankfulness. Every few minutes, take a moment to find something you are thankful for. In the more stressful moments, take a deep breath and thank God for something—anything. Practice thankfulness.
Tuesday: Praise. Today, practice praise. What attributes of God show up through your day? A sunrise? God’s ability to create beauty out of the mundane? What about His names? Which ones apply today? Practice praise.
Wednesday: Breathing. Do you have a verse that God has placed on your heart? As you breathe in, say the first half of the verse to yourself. Then, as you breathe out, say the last half. The traditional breath prayer is this: Breathe in "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God"; breathe out "Have mercy on me, a sinner. At regular intervals, pause to breathe your prayer two to three times. By the end of the day, the word will be written on your heart. Practice breathing.
Thursday: Pause. Set the alarm on your phone for every two hours. Regardless of your job, you should get up and move around or change positions regularly. At two-hour intervals, stop what you are doing and pause for two to three minutes. Take in your surroundings, walk around a bit and listen for what God is up to today. These regular check-ins will help you practice pause.
Friday: Encouragement. Look for what God is doing in others. He has put beauty, talent and possibility in each of us. Today, praise Him by encouraging others—point out what is good, right and true. Today, practice encouragement as an act of praise.
You might not be able to set aside time for a weekend retreat, but you do have time to practice God’s presence, even in the midst of modern chaos. Take time to practice these disciplines, and let us know—did it feel like you took time to pray? Which of the practices worked best for you? How did this focused time deepen your ability to minister to the people God has given you?
Kim Martinez is an ordained Assemblies of God pastor with a master's degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. She is a ministry and life development coach and can be found online at deepimprints.com. She writes a weekly column for ministrytodaymag.com.
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