Ways to Pray : Lent 2017
Thank you for joining me on this journey through different prayer practices during Lent. This is something you can do on your own, with your family, or even a small group. You can do it as often as is helpful for you – I am suggesting you try the same practice once each day during the week if you are able. I am sending a new “Way to Pray” each Monday morning leading up to Easter.
Praying by Serving : 3-9 April
OK, so this Way to Pray is quite simple. And yet, it doesn not come naturally (or come to mind) for many of us. Have you ever thought of serving as a form of prayer?
I am not talking about prayer SO THAT we can serve. You know, preparing ourselves and then “doing.” I am talking about praying AS YOU are serving. Praying blessing with each sweep of the broom. Asking God to lift someone’s burdens as you carry their boxes. Praying for nourishment – physical and spiritual – as you prepare a meal for someone.
Some of you will be familiar with Brother Lawrence. Known mostly through his thoughts and words in the book The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence is famous for praying while washing dishes. Or more accurately, he is known for advocating and demonstrating that we can connect with God in prayer in the mundane tasks of the day. He is the Saint for all of us who don’t prefer to sit for a morning “quiet time” but would rather pray as we go/do. He says, “that type of spirituality is ok too!” Or as David Bosch calls it: a spirituality of the road. For those who believe we should DO more than just “sit and pray,” this is for you. And for those who aren’t always sure how to pray for someone, don’t like praying out loud, or find it EASY to serve but DIFFICULT to pray, this is for you too.
A few ideas you might try, if Praying by Serving sounds good/helpful/intriguing/refreshing to you (and don’t forget the few mentioned above). These are mostly intercessory-type prayers but you could also do listening prayer instead. And as always, be alert to what God is saying and what is happening with the people and situations you are in:
- Run an errand for someone and pray for them, God working through whatever you are doing, and blessing those you are interacting with
- Do filing or sorting for someone and pray related to the things you are filing (finances, work needs, relationships) and that God works in different areas of the person’s life
- Go with someone as they run errands or appointments – pray for them and those they are interacting with as they conduct their business.
- Clean, do dishes, etc. for someone and ask God’s Spirit to work through different parts of their life. Pray for refreshing as they have a little more space in their life.
- Babysit and pray for the children as you interact with them, and the parent. Pray for the family.
But really, the list could be endless on what you can do to serve. And also, in the ways you can pray as you do. These can apply to serving and praying for people you know, organisations or churches, or in many cases people you don’t know. Two tips and then be creative!
- Listen for what someone says they need to do but dread or won’t get to and ask if you can help them. This helps if you can’t find a way to serve just by looking around.
- Enter into serving and then pray. Let God lead your prayers.
And don’t neglect asking if you can pray with or for someone before, during, or after serving. Don’t make a requirement, but I find many people appreciate and accept the offer.
May we all serve and pray this week.
That’s it 🙂 Go give it a try and please send me any feedback or questions. It is especially helpful for me to hear/see what you’ve done with this yourself. You may need a few attempts to get the feel for it or you may not find this particular practice to be one you love or want to add to your ongoing prayer life. Or you may! Either way, may you find yourself connecting with God through this unique way to pray.
The Ways to Pray series for Lent 2017:
1 March – Praying in Colour
6 March – Prayer of Examen
13 March – Praying in Nature
20 March – Prayers of Lament
3 April – Praying by Serving
10 April – Kingdom Prayer Pictures