Praying through the ordinary

Our lives are fairly ordinary.  We work, go to school, have families, go to church, spend time with friends, eat meals, and do any number of ordinary, mundane things.

That’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s simply what makes up the bulk of our days.  Even the great heroes of the faith had to wash their face, prepare meals, and change diapers.

When it comes to our relationship with God we can find joy in the fact that God will often reveal Himself in the mundane and ordinary because that is where we live.

Once when I’d spent a long day in the hot sun mowing my lawn, and weeding my garden I spent the majority of that time in prayer.  As I stood hosing down my driveway to rid it of the grass clippings and dust, I became very aware of God’s presence.  I could feel His pleasure, His grace and love and I stood there with my garden hose weeping and worshiping the God who loves me.

Worship doesn’t take place on Sunday morning alone.  In fact, that time should be a culmination of daily acts of worship and prayer we have enjoyed throughout the week.

There are two ways to make this a reality:

Turn ordinary events into opportunities for prayer and worship.

Many people see prayer as a hindrance to their work.  Or, conversely, they see their work as a hindrance to prayer.  Not so!

A month ago I was wrestling with a problem at work.  You know the kind, a problem that seems to have no apparent solution.  At least not one that would make all parties involved happy.  I had no idea what to do.  I got up and shut the door to my office and spent some time praying about my problem.  I left it in His hands, and quit worrying about it.

Before the day was out I had an idea for a solution that worked perfectly for all involved.  God had answered my prayer.

But that is an extreme example.  We can turn every meeting we attend, every report we write, every phone call we make, every meal we cook, and every dish we clean into a time of prayer and worship.

Look for God’s handiwork in the ordinary things of life.

A pastor friend of mind gets up very early to go to the church and pray before the service on Sunday.  He doesn’t want to wake his wife, so he gets dressed in almost total darkness, with only the dim light of a partially opened closet to see by.

One Sunday as he dressed he had the distinct feeling that he had two different colored socks on.  He tried to dismiss the thought as silly but it was persistent.  It became so persistent that he thought that perhaps God was trying to tell him that his socks were mismatched.  He laughed at that, thinking that God surely had no interest in the color of his socks.

It wasn’t until he was preparing to go up to preach that he noticed he was wearing one black sock and one brown sock!

Was God telling my pastor friend to change his socks?  Who am I to say?   But my friend said that he received a revelation of God’s grace and love through that event and it caused him to worship and give God glory.

God revealed Himself to my friend through the ordinary.  You can’t get much more ordinary than socks!

Here are few tips for praying through the ordinary:

  • We spend about 3 years of our lives waiting in line.  Consider carrying a 3×5 card with a few prayer requests written on it and pray while you wait.
  • Pray about the events you read in the news.
  • Pray over your children as you feed them, change their diapers, or wash their clothes.
  • Pray for your spouse every time you kiss them or hold them in your arms.
  • Pray over every single thing you do at work and offer it to God as work done for His glory.
  • Pray as you exercise.
  • Pray EVERY TIME someone pops into your head for no apparent reason.

What about you?  How do you pray through the ordinary?

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5 thoughts on “Praying through the ordinary

  1. Excellent article! Very encouraging, affirming, and instructional. This is a practical example of persevering in the faith. Accepting the ordinary ,yet living it out purposefully with prayer.

    • Susan: Yes! I really like the way you put that, “accepting the ordinary, yet living it out purposefully with prayer.” That is an excellent way to state it. Thanks for your comment.

  2. thanks Joe!! I just happened to scroll down to your post today and it really blessed me. A great reminder that I am not just stuck doing the mundane each and every day, I can pray through it! 🙂

  3. One night I was up far too late and the whole family was asleep. It was a mild winter night and as I was locking up, I felt compelled to go outside. As I stepped into the cloudless night I saw the most beautiful moon I have ever seen. I was immediately overcome by the greatness and beauty of God and stood in silent, reverent worship for several minutes. I felt the presence of God near to me and I was reminded of the One I love. I hope I never forget that night and that I find more of those moments in my daily life.

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