Praying Unceasingly

Every day I have every intention of praying all day. I go to bed with such a positive attitude that tomorrow will be the day that I will pray unceasingly. “I won’t forget to pray,” I tell myself. I will be closer to God. I will be filled with the Holy Spirit. I drift off to sleep…

My alarm goes off and then the reality hits. My mind starts racing about all the tasks I need to do to get the kids on the bus in time. All the things I cannot forget. While I’m doing one thing, my kids interrupt me with things that they need. After I’ve had a few digressions from my original task, I’m faced with the burning question, “Now, wait a minute……what was I doing 10 minutes ago??” Then the cycle starts over again. Ahhh! With all of these things going on in my head, I had to figure out a way to REMEMBER to pray.

I thought about all the things that I don’t forget to do on a daily basis – making meals, showering, checking my email, cleaning, etc. I know I don’t forget to do these things. If I could associate a prayer with these tasks, I wouldn’t forget to pray throughout the day.

I started with asking myself, “Which task do I do the most every day.” Well, that wasn’t hard to figure out – checking my email. This one is huge!!! How many of you check your phone or email more than once a day??? Come on…be honest. I know I check my email/phone a bunch of times during the day. In one hour it could be several times. What if I said the Jesus Prayer* every single time I opened my phone? Wow…..that’d be a lot of Jesus Prayers! I have a background for my phone that has the Jesus Prayer on it to remind me to say it when I open my phone. Sometimes I say a quick prayer for whomever has called, emailed or texted. *(Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy upon me a sinner”)

Do you use your phone as an alarm in the morning? If you have any church music on your phone, it is very easy to set it as your alarm sound. If you do a quick Google search for, “create alarm from song,” a bunch of tutorials will come up. If you need a suggestion of music, Eikona is a women’s group and I love listening to their angelic voices. They have their albums on iTunes.

The wheels in my brain started turning. Which other ways could I use technology to remind me to pray throughout the day? I started thinking about how I needed an app for that. Well, guess what?! There IS an app…actually many apps that will send you a reminder to pray. There’s a couple of Orthodox ones, too.

From here I started to think about other tasks that I do a lot…

Cleaning – When cleaning think about Psalm 51 – “Create in me a clean heart O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.” If you’ve been to camp, you may know the tune that goes along with that! J Write it on your cleaning product. Put a note on top of all of your cleaning rags as a reminder.

Making Meals – Remind yourself to thank God for all of the blessings seen and unseen that have been bestowed upon you. Thank God that you have food to eat and pray for those who do not. Ask God to nourish your soul and body.

Kid Tasks – For the kids whenever you pack their lunch or with younger kids when you change their diaper, say a prayer for them. Follow it with the Jesus Prayer. Kids want you to push them on the swings? Say a Jesus prayer for every push! 🙂

Laundry – I also like to do the Jesus prayer with repetitive tasks. When folding laundry, say a Jesus Prayer for each piece of clothing you fold.

Gardening – While weeding the garden, say the Jesus Prayer for each weed you pull. I like to visualize the weeds as sin and getting them out of my life. Forgive me, Lord.

Sticky Notes – I like to put sticky notes around the house to remind me to pray.

So far, making these associations with daily tasks has helped me a lot. By no means am I saying that I pray unceasingly or that I’m holy or anywhere near that. Oh, that I am not!! I still fall very short. But I’m running the good race that has been set forth upon us (Hebrews 12:1). I’m trying my best to add more prayer to my life.

I hope that by sharing my experience, it will help you in your quest to pray unceasingly. As always, if you have any questions about prayer, seek the counsel of your priest. They are there to help you through these struggles. Have any praying tips to share?? I’d LOVE to hear about it!