Our small group is doing an experiment where we all commit to praying twice a day – at 8 and 8.
I was the one who suggested it, but I have found it difficult to remember to pray at these given times. I’m usually somewhere in my daughter’s waking-up routine in the morning and somewhere in the middle of her going-to-bed routine in the evening time.
But I like the challenge, and I like having made the commitment to pray. Even if I don’t hit the exact times, I usually remember at some point in the morning or the evening, at which time I pause to pray.
Occasionally, I am in the middle of washing almost-stained baby clothes in the sink, and so I pause in my thoughts to direct them to God – and I often resort to a prewritten prayer (like the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”). Sometimes I am in the middle of singing my daughter to sleep, in which case, I turn my song into a prayer. “Jesus, all for Jesus, all I am and have, and ever hope to be.”
A few times in the last few weeks since we started this experiment, I have been able to pause and take some real time to pray. And in these moments, I have spent time in petition for the other members of our small group. Pausing in the beginning or end of my day to pray for other people helps me not only take the focus off myself and place it on someone else, but also helps me focus more clearly on God and the bigger story in which I take part.
Paul encourages us to “pray without ceasing.” Certainly, setting two times a day to pray is nowhere near the category “without ceasing,” but it’s a start.