Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’m in college again (yay!), specifically the Baptist College of Florida. One of the classes I’m taking here is Spiritual Formation 101. This class is about spiritual disciplines, training in Christian growth. Yes, it does feel weird to take a class about such matters, and to study formats and theory behind daily devotions. But it actually is a good class for me, because I am required to do a devotion daily, including a certain number of parts, and log it in a spiritual journal, which I will have to turn in at the end of the semester.
This is, to be honest, just what I’ve always needed. Accountability and structure is very good for me, and helps me, paradoxically, to feel like I have the freedom to actually accomplish what I’d like to do. And a set time of prayer in the mornings is quite good.
But I’m not here to babble on about my SF 101 devotions. I’m more interested in its effects on me. Becoming consistent in my prayers, along with my Scripture reading (which has been in Ephesians and Philippians so far), has been seemingly affecting how I think and respond throughout the day. More and more I find myself thinking when various things happen: I should pray.
It’s often a little thing. I’m about to go to work, and I feel like I should pray for provision (I work for tips, remember!). Sometimes at work I feel prompted to pray for the safety and fortunes of all the drivers. When people barely tip or don’t tip, I often feel like I should pray for God to bless them financially (Quite often the people who don’t tip don’t seem to have much extra cash, and while that makes me wonder why they’re ordering expensive Papa John’s pizza, I nonetheless feel they need prayer).
Of course, some of these habits started earlier, but they’ve all been more pronounced as of late. More various and new prayers come to mind, too. Recently I delivered to a man in a rehab clinic who was missing most of his fingers. Certainly I was prompted to pray for him. I regularly deliver to nurses in a nearby hospital, and I usually go in the ER entrance. The last time I did this it struck me that the people sitting in the waiting room probably need my prayers, too, so I prayed for them as well.
None of this is, of course, to brag about my prayer life. In fact, it would be quite foolish of me to do so, for I believe I am still drastically weak in prayer. I wanted instead to emphasize the direction that more prayer and Scripture reading has been shaping me (or, to be more accurate, where the Spirit has been moving me through prayer and Scripture). I’ve had prayer continually impressed on my heart. Verses like Ephesians 6:18 above just keep grabbing my attention and convicting me. And it’s changing my thoughts. I’m starting to think more in general about prayer as a response to the many things I see in my day, whether for thanksgiving or for request.
This is, I believe, an important work of the Spirit which I have been waiting for and hope (and pray!) will continue, and one which I believe we all need. It’s about developing a reflex of prayer. I hope to reach the place where my natural response to whatsoever I see is to approach the throne of grace through Jesus Christ my High Priest. That kind of reflex, that instinct, is something Spirit-led and Spirit-given, and can only draw you nearer to Christ and to all of the people you find yourself praying for. This reflex is something Paul seems to have had himself, and something he wanted to see in all of the churches he served.
Honestly, at this point I can’t think of anything much more to say about this, so I suppose I will let Scripture speak, and pray that God will bless us all with this reflex of prayer.
Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18