A few weeks after I moved to Georgia, I came home late one night to find an exceptionally friendly female bulldog waiting for me in my driveway. Now I don’t own a dog, but this dog ran up to me and loved on me like I was its master. I petted it, got it some water, and tried to figure out what to do as it was past midnight and this dog needed help that I wasn’t equipped to provide. Local PD couldn’t do anything unless she was aggressive, and she was the exact opposite of aggressive.
So after trying the local PD, I reached out to Facebook and the local “Gainesville, GA” Facebook group for advice. Someone suggested Nextdoor. Now Nextdoor is pretty much Facebook, only members are grouped into communities. I’m not sure the exact radius, but essentially everything I see is posted from people nearby. So back to the dog. I prayed on it, then decided to take a walk through the neighborhood, maybe see if I could find someone looking for her. I hadn’t gotten any bites on Facebook or Nextdoor, so it was my next best plan. After a few minutes of walking, she ran off towards a neighbor’s home and she was gone.
So tonight I’m doing some dishes in the kitchen and my phone dings. It’s a Nextdoor post. Someone is wondering why a local road is blocked off. Turns out there’s a mentally ill person, possibly armed, who is in their home and refusing to surrender to police. Many posts fly by, various people making suggestions, asking questions, wondering when it will be over, commenting on the line of cars sitting and waiting… Then one person makes the most beautiful request possible in this conversation. She asked everyone to pray. She had no clue who this person was, but she knew we were all powerless outside of our ability to pray.
Pray without ceasing.1 Thessalonians 5:17
Now I’ve never taken this as pray with every breath and every thought. I’m sure some can commit to that, but I know I am a flawed man, shiny things distract me. I keep my eyes on the Lord but I know something worldly is going to snatch away my attention at some point. Still, I would like to think that in my own way, I do pray without ceasing. I don’t pray with every thought. I certainly do not pray with every breath. The thing is… I can’t think of many decisions I make in life that I do not pray about. I can’t think of many situations where I succeed or fail, that I do not pray with thanksgiving.
After I stopped sliding across the ground and stood up moments after totaling my brand new motorcycle at the tail end of a panic attack… The very first words out of my mouth were THANK YOU, JESUS. As I looked around and saw pieces of motorcycle, my sneakers, etc… scattered along the trail from the road to the ravine, I took it all in, I prayed, and I thanked God. It didn’t matter to me that my new bike was toast. It didn’t matter to me that my shoulder was screaming at me in pain. I took in a deep breath in that stillness, I breathed in the Holy Spirit and exhaled praise and thanks that I was alive.
Not every prayer is tied to something so dramatic though.
On my way to work, I pray I make it there safely.
I’ll pray the same for the driver in the silver Chrysler 200 doing 95mph past me.
While I work, I pray that I do the best job I can to support my company and my peers.
I’ll pray for my boss and my peers that they have the wisdom and focus they need.
When I look out the window at the dark clouds approaching, I pray for sunlight.
When I cannot decide what to invest my free time in, I pray for guidance and wisdom.
When I hear a friend or a stranger is in need, I pray for the Lord to provide.
Provisions, direction, wisdom, courage, or simply peace… I pray.
I wonder how my family and friends are back home in NY, I pray for them.
I see folks going through their day to day lives, and I pray for them.
A random person compliments me on my bike while I stop for a cold drink at a gas station…
I pray for them.
I see a world around me that is entirely outside my control, but I know who does have control.
Jesus. I thank Him, I pray to Him, and that prayer is like breathing to me.
Sometimes I act, but always I pray.
Prayer is a direct link with the Almighty. It is a red phone on a presidential desk that only rings in case of great emergency just as much as it’s the cordless phone on my mom’s wall 900 miles away. To both extremes and in between, I will pray. I know He is at the other end of that line, and He wants to hear me. Does not matter when. Does not matter why.
I live, therefore I pray.
If you’re reading this, born again, <insert religious denomination here>, agnostic, or atheist, chances are I’ve prayed for you more than once. I’ll most certainly pray for you again.
God bless. Pray without ceasing, friends.