Praying the Ordinary

“Take yourveryday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.” Romans 12:1 (MSG)

“God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless signs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves […] and keeps us present before God. THat’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)

Definition

It is a ‘prayer in action’ where the distinction between the sacred and the secular is erased. While praying the ordinary, everything we do becomes prayer because it is directed toward God.

Key components

  •  Turn ordinary experiences into prayer

‘Prayer is not another duty to add to an already over-committed schedule’ (R. Foster) Our work and studies become prayer as we offer them up to God. -> 1Cor 10:31 Whatever we do, even the most ordinary things are prayers if we do them to the glory of God. God values the ordinary even if today’s culture doesn’t. 

‘We glorify God in our labour because we most closely approximate the Creator when we engage in the creative activity of work.’ (R. Foster)

  • Recognise God in the ordinary.

See where God is in  the everyday experiences of life, in nature, in the people around us etc. ‘Ours is to be a symphonic piety in which all the activities of work and play and family and worship and sex and sleep are the holy habitats of the eternal.’ (R.Foster)

  • Pray throughout ordinary experiences.

Offer prayers to God verbally or silently as you work, meet people, read the newspaper, do sport…

Suggestions for practice 

  • Ask God to help you to see your work as He sees it
  • Put up reminders in the house to pray while you do housework
  • Awareness walk
  • Say a brief prayer for people you talk to right after the conversation.
  • Say a short prayer as you start work/studying and offer it to God.
  • Pray for your recreation/rest/sleep. 

 Who is it for?

It is for everyone at any time, but especially useful for those who feel stressed and tired because of work and frustrated as Christians because they feel they don’t pray enough. It is good for busy parents and students, people who are retired or who feel that their work is ‘nothing special’