The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing 1Thes 5:17. It doesn’t require lofty language in a sacred space to do that. Prayer can be rich when it’s simple and spontaneous. In fact, we can pray anywhere, at any time.
All we need to do is see our ordinary moments as the perfect occasions for communicating with God, then speak from our heart.
Take a few minutes to explore this space for some plain and simple ways to pray your way through an ordinary day.
1. Pray on the move
While driving to work, to school, or chauffeuring your kids, use familiar landmarks to remind you to thank God, ask God, seek God, and listen to God.
2. Pray over your favourite foods
God loves the delightful things he has created; and when we enjoy them, he enjoys them with and through us. Savor it; as the Bible says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”
3. Pray holding your dog or cat
God loves animals even more than we do. In fact, our relationship with them in many ways mirrors our relationship with God. As we are with the creatures under our care, so God is with us. Thank him for your pet, and that you can trust God as they trust you.
4. Pray through a family photo album
Use pictures as an opportunity to thank God for the precious people in your life. Ask for God’s blessing on them to fulfill their destinies. Ask God to heal relationship rifts, and to help you heal from the grief of loved ones lost.
5. Pray During Household Chores
As you tend to your cleaning responsibilities, ask God to tend to his by cleaning out your heart of anything that would compromise His blessed best.
6. Pray While Brushing Your Teeth
Our words create things and tear things down. Pray that your words today would honor God, and that the things you say might cooperate with what God wants to accomplish in your corner of the world.
7. Pray to Your Favourite Song
God loves music: it’s all over the Bible. Happy songs, sad songs, love songs, and cause songs all reflect aspects of God’s heart. Sing your prayer as a celebration, an appeal, a complaint, a yearning or hope expressed to God.
8. Pray the Ancient Words of the Bible
The scriptures are our precedent for living, and what was true thousands of years ago remains true and relevant today. When you echo ancient words you connect with the wider human experience and with our never-changing God. Pick a passage like Psalm 23 or Romans 8 and read it slowly. Your words make it a prayer – a familiar prayer – to God.
9. Pray on a Solitary Walk in Nature
Creation is a window into God’s heart. In the woods, by the sea, beside a stream, or in a garden we find aspects of God’s nature reflected to us in tangible ways. As you walk, talk with God about what you see; then listen. God will respond!
10. Pray Gazing at the Stars on a Dark Night
We are small and seemingly insignificant in this vast universe. Yet praying as we look out across the galaxies gives God a chance to show us how special, powerful, and specific his love can be. On a dark night, share with God your “biggest challenges.” In that context, God will grant you peace that he is big enough to care for you!
11. Pray Out Loud
In fact, pray loud! There’s a great tradition of speaking up – even shouting – to God. Try it. Go off somewhere where no one – no one else but God – can hear you. Speak aloud to God. Let your words ring out so that you can hear them. If you’re really bold, give a shout of the things welling up in your heart. The Bible says it: “Shout to the Lord!”
12. Pray With a Friend About a Secret You Have Carried
Having someone to pray with is a powerful spiritual principle. God cares about relationships and honors in a special way the agreement of his children. Share your private concerns confidentially with a friend, then together take those concerns to God. In the comfort of two will come the power of three!
13. Pray While Reading the Newspaper
God cares about the world and the pain and suffering affecting all people. Learning the news may make you want to wring your hands, but answer that instinct by leveraging the opportunity to ask for God’s intervention in the specific crises at hand.
14. Pray While Exercising
Use the rhythms and cadence to prompt prayer routines and patterns. With every other step on a walk, for instance, recount the name of a friend who needs prayer, or a gift your thankful for, or a fear you need to release. Pushing your body creates a parallel for pushing your soul.
15. Pray with Silence and in Stillness
Our days are filled with rushed activity. Finding a few moments to sit still can be a great catalyst for prayer. Try sitting still and being silent, allowing your thoughts to move toward God. The Bible says, “In quietness and trust is your strength.” In quietness you express a healthy passivity, releasing activity to God, inviting his action.
16. Pray Over a Good Meal with Family or Friends
Fasting can be a great spiritual discipline to help us focus on prayer, but feasts can help us pray as well. There’s a long tradition of feasts and worship. Use either an ordinary meal or a special occasion to create a kind of edible prayer, perhaps saying, “Lord, we eat this in your honor…”
17. Pray on a Special Day
Every day is designated with some special meaning. Check an almanac to find what today recognizes, then use that as a platform for prayer. Perhaps today is the birthday of someone you know or the anniversary of an important event. Use any of these remembrances to focus and prompt your prayer for the day.
18. Pray Through Written Words
Whether through a journal, a hand-written letter, an email, a “Tweet” or blog post, or a card given to a friend, putting prayer into written words is a powerful, ancient – and enduring – practice. Write your prayers, then over time go back and review what you’ve written and consider how God has responded over time.
19. Pray with Emotion
God can handle our feelings. The stories of great souls always include accounts of their emotional connection with God. We are passionate creatures and God welcomes our anger, sorrow, frustration, fear, and celebration. In fact, he wants it! We’re to love God with all our heart. God can handle your emotions. Use them as a booster rocket for prayer. Laugh out a prayer. Weep out a prayer. Connecting with God at this level is the very best place to find emotional wholeness.
20. Pray with Simple Triggers
“Triggers” are memory tools that help direct our minds. We can strategically help our prayer practices by placing triggers in our day to remind us to pray in the middle of our ordinary activity. A Post It on your bathroom mirror, an hourly alarm on your watch, a small stone carried in your front pocket, it can be anything. Get creative and deliberate to place these hallmarks along the regular paths you walk. God will meet you there.
21. Pray Now
God is down to earth, here and now. He comes to meet us, where we live, to prepare us to meet him, where he lives. Communicate with him now, simply, directly, personally.
Here’s a prayer to get you started:
Fix Me Jesus
Oh yes, fix me, Jesus, fix me.
Fix me so that I can walk on
a little while longer.
Fix me so that I can pray on
just a little bit harder.
Fix me so that I can sing on
just a little bit louder.
Fix me so that I can go on despite the pain,
the fear, the doubt, and yes, the anger,
I ask not that you take this cross from me,
only that you give me the strength to continue carrying it onward ’til my dying day.
Oh, fix me, Jesus, fix me.