Do You Have the Habit of Prayer?

One of my all time favorite verses is from First Thessalonians:
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
It encapsulates three major areas in which God has dealt with me. I don't count myself as unique in some way... He calls all His children to rejoice, pray and give thanks. But for some reason this passage is especially dear to me.

The matter of prayer... oh I have wrestled with God over this one. Why does prayer matter? Why would God bother to listen to me? Can a puny human really impact the sovereign Lord?

And pray without ceasing? Is it even possible?

I am still in conversation with God about all that. I expect I will be for my whole life. I am confident at this stage of my journey that praying without ceasing is possible, but actually doing it still eludes me.

Over the years I have tried or learned about many ways of praying, many ways to keep praying. Laying down little habits is a helpful first step on the road to praying without ceasing.

Cultivating Prayer -

I have written about some of them - and know I am barely scratching the surface - over at Do Not Depart in a post entitled Cultivating the Habit of Prayer. There you'll find all sorts of practical ideas for developing habits that keep you in conversation with God. I hope you'll go read it.

With a little living water from the Word and some Sonshine, the soil of our hearts will be ready to sprout prayers. ;-) Sorry couldn't resist.

What about you? Do you have a habit of prayer? What routines have you found help you to remember to pray?

Or is it a way of thinking? I think that there is a major piece in the pray-without-ceasing puzzle.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!


How to Have a Faith that Walks on Water

This summer has been an especially busy one. I am startled repeatedly when I look at the calendar and find that school is upon us again. It does not seem like we had much rest this year.

The busy-ness of family life, along with extra commitments I made this summer, have consumed my writing time. Very few words eked out of this word girl that weren't practical and purposeful. No blog posts here, no books. So I have been feeling breathless, airless, needing to pen words, to peck on keys.


For four weeks in July we trekked to our state park for swimming lessons, and some of those sunny days I brought a notebook. A notebook and pencil. And in my almost illegible scrawl, I covered the paper. Oh how I wish I could write more clearly; this terrible handwriting does hinder me. My mind races and the pencil can't keep up; my hand cramps, and even I can barely read what I have written.

Still... sometimes the power of the words overtakes even my reluctance to make a mess on the paper, and I write write write. The impact of a moment pushes my hand to pencil and I can not stop...


It's peaceful here poolside. The breezes feel almost cool under the pines. It is an unusual July in the middle of Texas.

The kids are taking swimming lessons. Two hours a morning I sit under the trees and watch the twenty or so children, with four instructors, splash in the sparkling blue water.

They are at many levels. From a three year old learning to get his face wet, to our sixteen year old working on perfecting his strokes.

It is relatively quiet. No endless chant of "Marco! Polo! Marco! Polo!" like in the afternoon when the pool is open to the public.

So I notice when a teacher says loudly "It's okay! It's okay! You did it! You're okay!"

I look up from the other side of the pool, and see a little boy clinging to her in the water with his head on her shoulder. He is silently sobbing.

With much encouragement he makes his way back to the side of the pool and sits on the steps, his head turned away from the water. A visible sign of protest.

He sits quietly. He is still shaken, still scared. But he is trying to be brave.

Then in front of him, on the deck, a man appears. He squats down and lays his hand on the boys head.

The man's lips are moving as he speaks softly to the child. Then he pats the boy's back.

The man stands and walks away. And the boy turns back to face the water.

I see her there right in the middle of that moment.

I see myself.

Scared, overwhelmed, small. Turning away from that which terrifies.

From the thing that threatens to suck me down, draw all life from me.

Trying to be brave. But utterly shaken.

How often does my Father gently lay a hand on my head? How often a reassuring pat on my back?


I still can see that little head turned away from the water.

The thing about water is that when you can't touch bottom, you realize how important it is to know how to swim. The murky deep is a vague and dark threat... it is an unknown.

Fear wraps itself up with the unknown. With the what-ifs and the worried hypotheses.

I have felt the beckoning from the water. I know it is time to step out of the boat and walk to Him.*

But how timid I am! Those depths, oh those depths.

All too often I try swimming instead. I struggle and heave and flail through the water. Heading in the right direction, but using the wrong method. Terrified that something sinister is about to pull me under.

How can a girl skim right over those swallowing waters?

By seeking His face. 

It's the only answer I can find.

I seek His face.*

His face on the side of the pool. His face standing there on the water, hand beckoning.

And I have to keep my eyes fixed on Him... because as soon as they fix on me? Or on that water? Down I sink. Down down down.

I have spent a fair share of time looking at myself this summer. Sinking, spluttering, wearing myself right out.

When Jesus beckons, He doesn't make the water shallow. He says "Come." That's all.

The unseen depths are still there.

He says "Come."

My frailty is still there.

And He says "Come."

A faith that walks on water is a face looking only at Jesus.

Some days, most days, I feel like He asks the impossible. I know He is asking me to dig deep into something that is far beyond me. And when I assess my life, when I see the obstacles, I am sure I can not do what He is asking.

But when I look at Him? I remember - with God all things are possible.*

I want to have a faith that walks on water. I want to walk right into His arms. Your face, oh Lord, shall I seek.*

* Matthew 14:28-3, Psalm 27:8, Matthew 19:26

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