Any thoughts turned toward God are prayer.
I can’t find the author of that quote, but it rings in my mind sometimes. It’s encouraging and beautiful that prayer is so simple.
To pray continually, as the Bible commands, sometimes feels impossible. But turning my thoughts toward God isn’t difficult. Instead of just thinking my thoughts, I invite Jesus into the thoughts.
Know What You Think
This may seem like an obvious first step, but becoming aware of self talk isn’t easy for everyone.
Take small steps. Start with acknowledging your thoughts when you do recognize them.
When you notice an opinion, a thought, an emotion, turn it toward Jesus.[Related Post: What They Never Told Me about Prayer]
It won’t happen overnight. Habits aren’t made in a day.
But this can be a life-giving habit, if you let it.
The challenge comes when, in time, you’re tempted to make prayer itself the focus.
Prayer was never intended to be our focus. It is how we draw near to God, and in a letter James wrote that when we draw near to God, he draws near to us (James 4:8). The purpose of prayer is to draw near to God.
It’s all about our relationship with God, but if we morph our goal and make it about praying, we’ve created an idol.[Related Post: The Idol of Prayer]
Tell Jesus About It
Prayer is talking to God. Once you’ve noticed that opinion, thought, or emotion, tell Jesus about it. This is one way we take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5b) and become transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
“That is beautiful,” becomes, “That is beautiful. Thank you Jesus for putting it there, for helping me recognize its beauty.”
“That was fun!” becomes, “That was fun. Jesus, I know every good gift comes from you. Thank you.”
“I’m scared,” becomes, “Jesus, I’m scared. I need your help, your peace, your strength, your wisdom.”
Anger that can’t even be formed into words becomes, “I’m at the end of my rope right now Lordy, and I need your help to have self control.”
What about you? What has helped you turn your thoughts toward God? How have your thoughts changed as you practiced that habit?