As followers of Jesus’ way, we long to develop a state of our soul that is in continual communion with God. This is of course done in prayer. The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that they should “pray continually”, but how is this possible in the ebb and flow of daily life?
In Jesus we observe those times when he went off to be alone to practice solitude and silence in his prayers. Getting away from the busyness and expectations of life is an important facet of the development of our prayer lives. Yet, praying continually does not mean that we are to live in solitude and silence always. It is not possible nor is it the expectation from what we see in the life of Christ.
In order for Jesus to speak out of the overflow of who he was, he needed to be in continual communion with the Father. We need to develop the same sense of presence. Then we will experience less of the dichotomy of life where we define some times and spaces as sacred and others as secular or normal.
Jesus’ power as he walked among us came from being ‘in’ the Father. Similarly, our power comes from being ‘in’ Christ. Our ambition is to be ‘in’ Christ at all times and in all situations.
An example of this is found in Mark 9 where Jesus, Peter, James, and John are descending from a mountain to find the remaining disciples in an argument that came about because they could not drive out an evil spirit. Later, when Jesus was privately teaching his twelve disciples they asked what the problem was. Jesus responded by saying that what was missing was prayer. In other words, they were attempting to operate apart from the presence of God.
This is a trap that we all fall into and one that we must overcome.
As we get close to Jesus and the Father, prayer is not something that we hop in and out of. Rather, it becomes who we are. Living in close proximity requires a soul that is always open in prayer. Even when we are working, parenting, driving, learning, and doing ministry we must be engaged in communion.
One way I have learned to do this is through some one line prayers. Mostly phrases grabbed from a biblical passage. As I am engaged in teaching, driving, or simply spending time with family, these prayers serve as a way to center my self in Christ and acknowledge his presence in all that I am dong. From there I can listen for the small whisper, express gratitude, or pray for those around me.
These prayers serve as entry ramps to commune with God and direct my focus to his presence in everything. Remember, prayer is not always speaking or following a set format. Those can become modes of control, keeping God at a distance and expecting him to do your bidding. Stillness of your being is an even more important discipline when engaging with God.
Here are a few of my favorite one line prayers. Some I use in different situations:
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
“I believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”
“Amen, come Lord Jesus.”
“On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
They are simple, easy to remember, and serve as a connection to God’s presence.
What way of remaining centered in Christ throughout the day do you employ?
My new book Essential Questions: Learning to Follow Jesus by Examining What He Asked is due out in October 2019.
I am an author, discipleship coach, and speaker who helps followers of Jesus gain perspective on their identities so they can experience transformation in their decisions, behaviors and relationships and live in freedom. My book Tree of Lies: Transforming Decisions, Behaviors, and Relationships By Gaining Perspective On Your Identity in Christ available on Amazon (http://amzn.to/2bjMRyx) or Barnes and Noble (http://bit.ly/2c0q62I). Visit TreeofLies.com for free resources.
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