The greatest gifts I have received in my life were not the ones delivered in shiny boxes with velvet bows, but they came with faces and hands and voices and became my friends. One such friend has been Minette Drumwright Pratt.
Many years ago when I was a bit sassier, less wise, and maybe just a wee bit more irreverent, I found myself constantly asking God how was it that I could be wife and mother, attend to the needs of a very demanding job, be active in my church, be a good citizen and all at the same time I was supposed to pray without ceasing. My morning and evening prayers were about the best I could manage, and then came Minette.
We were both on the program of a state mission organization’s annual meeting, and she was teaching on the subject of prayer. As a serious student of prayer, Minette had traveled the world developing the International Prayer Strategy for missionaries, and she had learned much from her experiences, and best of all, she was willing to share what she had learned with people like me.
I had grown up where praying required silence, bowed heads, closed eyes and just the right formula. I had used the acrostics (PRAY: Petition, Repent, Ask, Yield and ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.) No wonder I couldn’t figure out how to pray without ceasing. Minette introduced me to the idea that prayer was a lifestyle, an ongoing conversation with our Father. She gave me some very practical information about how to do that. One of those disciplines was to use prayer alerts – such a simple thing that came to revolutionize my thinking and my practice of prayer.
Now, I don’t have to be in quiet room to talk to my Father, and I don’t have to remember an acrostic. I don’t even have to bow my head or close my eyes. I use several alerts that simply require a thought from my mind to His. When I hang up the phone, I ask God to bless the one I called or the one who called me (unless it’s a computerized telemarketing call). When I hear a siren, I stop and ask God to take care of the ones in distress and the first responders. I have pictures of family and friends dotted around our house. When I see them, I offer a just a thought to God about them. I talk to God while driving, while walking, while cooking, and all the while. Amazing things those prayer alerts, and what’s more amazing is what it has done to me over the years.
But did you notice? With those prayer alerts, I was doing all the talking, and prayer is a conversation, so I learned to listen. I hear best Him when I read His word, or in a beautiful melody, or in birdsong, or even in honking geese. And such a gift, I hear Him in the voices and I see Him reflected in the lives of so many of my friends.
I’d love to hear about your prayer life, and I hope you have a friend like Minette. She is like a gift that I’ve unwrapped over and over and always with joy and thanksgiving.
Image: CC Flickr JD Hancock