February Stewardship Corner: Praying Simply

As mentioned last month, Christian simplicity frees us from the modern mania of self-centered
and consumer living. Simplicity eliminates the noise in our lives to allow us to focus on the
important role that God calls us to be—caring stewards of our lives and our world.

We need to consciously choose to stop the noise in our heads and be more deeply engaged in
continual communion with God. Prayer is a wonderful way to keep God constantly in mind.

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil 4:6)

In our hurried and full lives, prayer helps us take time out to spend speaking with God. We pray for ourselves and others; asking for peace, comfort, healing, and direction. We ask God to give us the ability to say yes or no when it is the right thing to live simply according to God’s calling for us. Prays do not need to be extravagant or wordy, premeditated or scholarly. Prays must simply be sincere. God knows what’s on our hearts; God is waiting for us to share that with God. Abbot Agatho of the 3rd -century Desert Fathers and Mothers said, “There is no labor so great as praying to God.”

The Discipline of Praying Simply
How might you pray to keep God constantly in your thoughts? Experiment with different ways. Some suggestions to try:
• Resolve to pray for every person you see in a day. Pray for God to guide your family members, to comfort those who seem hurt, to encourage those who seem weary, and to challenge those who seem indifferent.
• Frank Laubach, a 20th -century missionary, had a “Game with Minutes.” Take a given hour each day and see how many minutes during that hour you can be conscious of God’s presence. It may take time to build the spiritual muscles, but with practice, the habit will become more ingrained. Perhaps start with an hour in a worship service to aid your concentration. With time, extend the practice to more hours in the day and, eventually, to the entire day.
• Keep a prayer stone or other item in your pocket (or in sight). Each time you feel (or see) the stone, pray for whatever is on your mind at that time. Train yourself to feel the stone each time you get overwhelmed, distracted, or need to talk with God.
• Each time you’re about to start an activity, take a mental pause and pray. Going for a walk? Ask God to walk with you. Driving somewhere? Ask God to be your co-pilot. Reading a book with your children or grandchildren? Ask God to bless your time together and to guide their young minds. Cooking a meal? Thank God for all those who worked to grow and prepare the food for your use. Going to bed? Thank God for all the blessings and challenges of the day and ask for a restful night.
• Consider your own style of frequent prayer.

Challenge yourself throughout the month of February to increase your prayer time and to feel
closer to God. As we grow in the discipline of praying simply, we open our minds to hear God’s
calling. We just need to try, simply.

Submitted by Kathy Bannon, Stewardship Chair