We see in the Bible that God is always with us. When we become followers of Jesus, his presence comes to dwell inside us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Because God is always near, as Christians, it should be normal for us to carry on a conversation with God, not just in the morning and evening, but throughout the day.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, we are commanded to ‘‘rejoice always, pray continually’’ and to ‘‘give thanks in all circumstances.’’ But what does it look like to live this out? We can develop this kind of lifestyle through simple practices that help our hearts hear from the Lord, both in the quiet, still moments and the loud hectic ones throughout our day. This can be called ‘‘practicing the presence.’’ And as we learn to pray continually, talking to God becomes a natural part of our relationship with him.
How do we integrate prayer into our lives?
First, understand that prayer doesn’t have to be long. One practical way we can begin practicing an awareness of God throughout our day is through breath prayers. This can be done by praying a short Bible verse or a simple prayer that can be said in the space of a breath. There’s nothing magical about repeating these prayers as you inhale and exhale, but it’s a simple and powerful way to stay connected with God throughout your day.
As you read through the Bible, write down any short prayers that stand out to you. Or you can write out your own in the margins of your Bible in response to Scripture. Here are some examples to get you started:
1 John 4—Help me love like you today.
Psalm 23—Keep me safe.
Matthew 6—Forgive me, and help me to forgive others.
Types of prayers in the Bible
Prayers of adoration, examen and meditation are all additional ways for us to pray, each giving us different ways to communicate with and cultivate a life-giving relationship with our Creator.
Prayers of adoration give God glory simply for who he is. One easy way to do this is by praying the Psalms. You might even try to write a psalm in your own words, expressing your thanks and praise to God.
Prayers of examen help us to reflect. As you think back on your day, ask God to reveal the ways he has been present with you and reflect on whether your thoughts, feelings and actions have been pleasing to him. This is a way for us to allow God to help us see ourselves more clearly and be transformed by him. Try praying this way by reflecting on your day before going to sleep at night.
Prayers of meditation allow God to address our will, calling us into repentance, obedience and transformation. One way to do this is by reflecting on the truth found in the Bible and asking God to show us how it relates to our lives.
Drawn from The NIV Telos Bible.
Created to meet the spiritual needs of high school and college students, the NIV Telos Bible is designed to be contextually relevant and to challenge young adults to take a meaningful look at the Bible. It encourages this diverse generation to know and follow Jesus while discovering what the Bible says about the subjects that are most important to them. Acting as a student’s guide through Scripture, this Bible includes tools like book introductions, reading plans, core questions and answers, and journaling prompts to equip young adults to make sense of the Bible.