Prayer as a constant conversation with God

“Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors.” — Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott and I hardly have any commonality other than identifying as born-again Christians. But her quote about prayer resonated with me.

Perhaps one of the verses in Scriptures that most challenges my flesh is found in Psalm 46: “Be still and know that I am God.”

With a type-A, restless personality, I often struggle to sit still for a long time; therefore, in the past, I wrestled with the thought that being “still before God” could only be accomplished on my knees or sitting quietly in prayer. Was I ever grateful to find out that was not the case!

Indeed, there is a lot to be said for times of stillness when we kneel before God, acknowledging his sovereignty and majesty. I have grown to cherish times when I quiet my spirit and silence the world around me to focus on him. But the truth is, our prayer time should not be confined to those moments.

I have found my morning walks in the woods the time I feel God’s presence most deeply. During my walks, I pour my heart out to him, interceding for my friends and family, all while worshipping his majesty in nature. There is nothing quite like it to me.

In his first letter to the Thessalonian church, the Apostle Paul addressed the stereotypical concept of prayer by challenging believers to engage in prayer and thanksgiving at all times and in all situations:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

“Pray without ceasing.” The idea surpasses the notion of uttering prayers to God every minute of every day. Instead, it means that our minds are focused on God as we live in both the profound and the mundane aspects of life, realizing that he is ever-present and willing to commune with his children and answer their prayers.

A couple of months ago, I received a copy of a small book titled “Every Moment Holy.” The book, written by lyricist and author Douglas Kaine McKelvey, has sold more than 250,000 copies since its publication in 2017.

The book’s title perfectly translates the author’s attempt to convey the awareness that life is precious and God is always near. McKelvey explains: “‘Every Moment Holy’ is designed to help readers practice the constant presence of God and tune their ears to the eternal echoes that resound in every moment of life.”

Based on the concept of the traditional liturgies for sacramental occasions like Baptist or marriage, this small book contains prayers for ordinary events of daily living, offering a space for prayer and meditation in various seasons and situations. A second volume of the book was released in 2021, offering liturgies for those experiencing sickness, loss, or facing the death of a loved one — prayers acknowledging the depth of grief but also pointing readers to the hope we find in God’s eternal love and grace.

As I interviewed McKelvey after browsing both volumes, I can certainly understand the popularity of these small books.

We live in such a fast-paced society that recognizing the presence of God in the mundane or in hardships has become increasingly difficult. “Every Moment Holy” provides beautiful prayers for when we find ourselves at a loss for words. Likewise, it invites readers to lift their eyes from their activities, even the most routine ones, and take time to find God’s presence in everything.

Every moment becomes indeed holy when we realize that God is always present and desires a personal relationship with his children. When we fully grasp that idea, prayer becomes more than a spiritual habit. It becomes the gateway to the throne of grace, where we find peace, direction and wisdom in every moment and circumstance.

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson

Find out more about “Every Moment Holy,” visit www.everymomentholy.com/. Listen to Patricia’s interview with Doug McKelvey on the podcast: God-Sized Stories with Patricia Holbrook.

Patricia Holbrook is a columnist, author, blogger, podcaster and international speaker. Subscribe to her podcast and YouTube channel for all interviews. Website: www.soaringwithHim.com. For speaking engagements and comments, email pholbrook@soaringwithhim.com