During complex moments in life, I have found that the most helpful things are very simple. “Get back to the basics” sounds like a saying too simple to be helpful. Don’t overlook the obvious. It is the simple things that bring balance. One of those simple things is prayer.
Just like we need to breathe to live, we need to pray, so I want to offer one simple encouragement – DON’T GIVE UP, DON’T QUIT! It sounds crazy, but most people quit what they need most when they need it the most. In the craziness of life altered by COVID-19, instead of praying less or just tossing a prayer in the midst of the rush of life, make prayer an even more essential part of your day.
Here are four simple practical thoughts to provide more time to simply talk to God in prayer:
- Pray to start the day: Not much explanation needed here, but here’s a question: “How many times do you start the day in a rush, so you tell yourself ‘I’ll pray later’ – but you never are able to squeeze it in the mix of other daily demands?”
- Upscale Your Downtime: This means making the most of your time off the clock. All of us need downtime in life, and sometimes it’s good to do nothing. But there are parts of that downtime that we can upscale; some of that time can be spent with God by studying His Word and speaking to Him in prayer.
- Rest During Timeouts: Recovering is doing something. That is a hard lesson for a lot of us to learn. We want to be involved in something all of the time, even if it’s just watching TV, but that’s not really rest. Get a good night’s sleep, take your breaks, and rest so that when you have an opportunity to spend time with God, you won’t fall asleep, get distracted easily, or become too tired to focus or concentrate on what you’re trying to learn from Scripture.
I remember being on retreat when I was 20 years old and I asked an older pastor what the secret was to having a powerful time with God in prayer. His answer was simple — DON’T GIVE UP!
In these complex days, remember the word of Paul in Philippians 4:
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6–7 (ESV)