I made the decision that my opening blog in 2015 should be on one of my priority objectives for this coming year:  PRAYER.  My focus is the Thessalonians text that admonishes us to “Pray without ceasing”.

Thessalonians 5: 16-18      16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

While I have always held to the idea that prayer can be at any time and any place for any purpose, I am hoping to focus my prayers this coming year on enhancing my awareness of the presence of God working in and through my life and the lives of those around me.  I want to be more aware of God at work in my life experientially and relationally.  I long for an awareness of God’s presence throughout each and every day.

Next to the idea of “constant prayer” is my longing for “simple prayer”.   I have never felt the need for prayers to be long or formal.   Constant, yes!  Constant prayer is in turning my attention toward God in placing what I am doing or saying or thinking in the context of the reality that God is always with me.  I truly believe this.  God never goes away.  God never abandons me/us.  While I may turn from God in my day-to-day activities, I know that God never turns from me.  Regardless what is happening in my life God is always with me.   I cannot help but think of the Joseph Haroutunion book[1], God With us, that holds a prominent place in my library and my heart.  God is always with me and us!

This brings to mind the wonderful Anne LaMott  book, Help, Thanks, Wow[2] – I have been reading and using as a guide/resource for over a year:  I am intentional in getting up in this morning in saying to God:  Help me with this day!  This is tied to my setting priorities for the day that help me to focus attention on what God would have me do and be throughout the day.  Finding my day filled with blessings, I am “constantly” finding ways to say to God and others in my life:  Thanks!  Thanks for my wife and daughter and her family – friends and neighbors.   This list of thanksgivings can easily move to the nation and world and church in which I live.   I am thankful for God’s presence in my life.  I thank God for Jesus.  I thank God for my mind and heart to be doing what I am now doing.  My list continues to grow — Thanks!   Going to bed at night all I can say is WOW!  What a day.  If I have any problems at all in sleeping, I turn to my litany of thanksgivings.  Better than counting sheep, keeping God as a constant focus of prayer always produces peaceful sleep.  This is real for me.  This is my prayer.

Finally, looking again at the scripture from I Thessalonians, I want to dedicate my life this coming year to “giving thanks to God in all circumstances”.   I believe this is the will of God for me through Christ my lord—one of my objectives for this coming year.

What about you?   How do we together connect our lives with God through prayer?

[1]  God with Us:  A Theology of Transpersonal life, Joseph Haroutunian, Westminster Press, 1965

[2]  Help, Thanks, Wow:  The Three Essential Prayers, Anne LaMott, Riverhead Books, 2012

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