First Thessalonians (5:17) says it clearly: “Pray continually.” I assume that means 24-7, 365. So, if I understand that correctly, that means my life should be one continuous prayer. Praising. Confessing. Thanking. Asking. But I think there’s more. I think God wants me to be going about His business here on earth, too. So, if God expects me to pray without ceasing, He must have designed me to be doing and praying at the same time. Multi-tasking.
We’re good at multi-tasking these days. Texting while driving. Shopping while chatting. Pretending to listen while we’re thinking of the 100 things we really should be doing. Actually I don’t think any of those things are truly mulit-tasking. I think we ping between things to accomplish those. In and out of our circumstance. Text, then look to see if the traffic is moving, then back to text. Yes?
So I guess it’s natural to see prayer the same way. Pray, then do. Pray, then go. Pray, then speak. But if God actually wants us to pray continuously – without stopping – that means we must have been made for this. In fact, it may be the one thing we can truly multi-task.
Except we don’t. We treat it as we do all the things we multiply. Add it to the list and then check it off. Perhaps we’re a bit better and weave it in throughout. But that’s not continuous.
If, just for the sake of argument, I could pray AND do at the same time, what would that look like? The prayer form would have to keep changing along with whatever I was doing. If I was talking, prayer would be in the words. If I was listening, prayer would be in the listening. If I was moving, prayer would be in the motion. If I was writing, prayer would be in the recording.
Not, first this then that, but both together…at the same time. That would be life lived completely God’s way.
I pulled out my resistance band yesterday (it’s a stretchy band that I use for my own exercise and in fitness activities I do when I lead groups) and choreographed motions/exercises to the hymn ‘Spirit of the Living God.’ I pull it. It resists. I pull harder. It moves. The give and take of exert and respond in the rhythm and movement of words and song. The song ends…”Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me” and I bring the band, taut between my hands, down to rest. In that moment I can feel the residual effects of the resistance and the stretch I’ve just performed. I can literally feel the prayer I have just prayed, and I am stronger.
I have been strengthened in prayer. That is multi-tasking, and I think God is okay with it.
**Thank you to the folks at the Upper Room and the Global Board of Ministries who invited me to participate among them at SOULfeast 2013 this year. This inspiration is the fruit of that invitation.