“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
If you look up ‘all’ in the Shorter Oxford Dictionary, you will find that it means ‘all’ – and not ‘all except!”
There are no circumstances in life where we are completely in control or completely self-sufficient. At any time, and in any situation, something may go wrong or something unexpected may happen. We may be faced with a situation or a challenge for which we are not adequately prepared – neither in terms of protecting ourselves or others, nor in terms of meeting the challenges which suddenly confront us. This may happen in the home, in our work situations, in our relationships and in our travels. I remember travelling along a quiet road overseas when a large 4×4 erupted from a side road and tried to climb into the passenger seat of my car through the side window! In those moments my life and well-being were not in my hands. Thank God, neither of us was hurt although my car had a new shape. The next morning, as I exchanged cars at the rental company, they showed me one in a similar condition in which the passenger had been killed and the driver was still in a coma. I was only slightly comforted by the fact that my replacement car was a bright red!
To pray in any situation is to recognise our imperfections, inadequacies and vulnerabilities, and our need for God. It honours God by recognising Him and asking Him to be involved. It does not relieve us of the responsibility for doing our best, and of doing what we should do – but it does ask for His help in our efforts and for His protection in all our circumstances. Our prayers need to be focussed not only on ourselves, but also on our families and those around us.
I have found it useful to start the day with a set series of prayers that I have composed for my immediate and extended family and myself. It includes our homes, work, comings and goings and health. During the day I pray whenever I drive, whenever I meet with anyone and whenever I undertake any ministry – I also pray for any of my family with special needs. As the day progresses I pray for the people around me with whom I may have dealings, including security guards and cashiers, as well as those whom the Lord seems to draw to my attention. Whenever I hear the siren of a police car or ambulance I pray for the situation and for the people involved. And then, when it seems that the Spirit draws to my attention something special – a sunset, a cloud formation against the deep blue sky, the stark beauty of a winter-bare tree, the liquid song of the crested barbet or the shiny loveliness of the blue starling, the laugh of a child or the miracle of a baby – I give thanks. He has, in fact, led me into the habit of talking to God all through the day. It is not an imposition but a privilege. It has helped develop the realisation that God is with me, and interested in all my doings, all the time.
Talk to God all through the day. Share your thoughts, concerns and involvements with Him. Ask for His help.
Father God, if I am to live as Your child, and the expression or Your presence and love, I will need Your help. Please be with me in all that I think, and say and do, and guide, empower and protect me – in Jesus name. Amen.