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Monday, June 16, 2008

The Prayer Chain

The Prayer Chain

1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.”

Most of us understand Paul’s admonition to pray without ceasing as something more than a command to stay on our knees every waking hour. We know that maintaining a lifestyle of prayer in all of its facets, e.g., thanksgiving, supplication, praise, confession, intercession, meditating on scripture, adoration, and listening for his voice, etc. is how we pray without ceasing. Prayer is often as basic as breathing for believers. Unfortunately, sometimes we take prayer for granted much like we do inhaling and exhaling.

Recently, though, I’ve been thinking of a new word-picture to help me follow Paul’s directive to pray without ceasing: the prayer chain.

Many of us associate that phrase with a phone tree (flow chart) used by churches to share prayer concerns efficiently throughout a congregation. But I’m speaking of a highly personalized concept that helps me see my days, and often my nights, as one long, continual conversation/friendship with God.

Here’s how it works:

I visualize the prayers that I think or say throughout the day as links in a chain, interlocking with yesterday’s prayers and those I will offer tomorrow. From my first “Thank you for this day, Lord,” to the last “Keep my loved ones safe in your care tonight, Father,” I am growing more conscious of the continuum of communion with the Lord.

Back to the breathing analogy: Imagining the prayer chain is like taking time to breathe deeply, noticing how my lungs expand and then empty and marveling at the respiratory system. With the prayer chain, it’s like taking time to notice the moments of my day that I’m intentionally sharing with Jesus and marveling that he desires to interact with me--that He even set up this whole system of personal prayer.

I have a friend who is in dire need of comfort from the Lord right now, having been given a discouraging prognosis about her future. Nevertheless, as weak as she is in body, her spirit remains strong. She told me this week that when she lies awake at night (due to pain and the effects of chemotherapy and incredible insomnia) she prays almost the entire night, adding that she also prays for me. I am extremely humbled and blessed by this.

My heart breaks for my friend, so I find myself fashioning many links for her throughout the day. Since she must endure suffering right now, I try to imagine her night vigils as forging the longest, strongest prayer chain possible. I picture her, although she is unsure of her footing sometimes, holding onto that chain with both hands and using it guide her to the throne of God, where she sees Jesus constantly interceding for her as no one else can.

The Creator loves your unique voice so much that He never grows weary of it. He wants you and me to live in the spirit of never-ending prayer, always talking to and listening for him. May we always be cognizant of the great privilege He has granted us--He has called us his friends (John 15:15).

Question: Chains often have a negative connotation. How can a chain represent something positive and strengthening?

Question: Do you live your life in the spirit of unending prayer?

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Blogger Natalie Witcher said...

I like the thought of a chain being something positive and strong! Good thought!

June 16, 2008 at 6:11 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such a lovely thought, thank you.

June 16, 2008 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Linda, I love your analogy about our prayers being links in a long chain, connected from one day to another. God doesn't forget about our prayers from day to day. This is a helpful word-picture for understanding this truth. Thank you for sharing it with me. I will think about this chain the next time I offer up a prayer.


June 16, 2008 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Evening, I am getting a picture of the construction paper rings that my boys used to tear off each day until Christmas. That is a positive aspect of a chain. Also, I look at the links of a chain being connected. A chain can keep my pet safe! Thanks for the thoughts. God bless you and your friend. Cindi

June 16, 2008 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

"He wants you and me to live in the spirit of never-ending prayer, always talking to and listening for him."

Sounds like the kind of fellowship that Adam and Eve had with their Creator in the Garden - unbroken, intimate communication. I think God still really desires that from us. Well said Linda!

June 17, 2008 at 12:17 AM  

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