"Prayer is meant to be the conversation where your life and your God meet."

I’m continuing to meditate on this simple and profound definition of prayer from David Powlison. It is creating in me the desire for (and increasing practice of) continual conversation with God in all the nooks and crannies of my daily living. And for me, such desires are fanned into flame through reading the encouragements of thoughtful disciples of Jesus toward pursuing this more. 

Charles Hodge, a nineteenth-century Princeton theologian and disciple, gave us this tender example of conversations where your life and your God meet:

In my childhood I came nearer to “Pray without ceasing” than in any other period of my life. As far back as I can remember, I had the habit of thanking God for everything I received, and asking him for everything I wanted. If I lost a book, or any of my playthings, I prayed that I might find it. I prayed walking along the streets, in school and out of school, whether playing or studying. I did not do this in obedience to any prescribed rule. 

It seemed natural.

I thought of God as an everywhere-present Being, full of kindness and love, who would not be offended if children talked to him. I knew he cared for sparrows. I was as cheerful and happy as the birds and acted as they did.

Take this one step further back in time, and you will discover that the young Charles was practicing the teaching of the Apostle Paul, who also advised using prayer as the conversation where your life and your God meet:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, in everything, tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (New Living Translation; Php 4:6–7)

I think I’ve always understood Paul to mean, when he says “in everything,” that in all the items I have on my list of concerns, I need to pray. For all those things I may be worried about, I need to pray. But now I see what I think he really means; namely, emphasize the “in”. 

IN everything, tell God what you need.

IN everything, thank him for what he has done.

IN the morning when you rise, IN the kitchen as you eat breakfast, IN the car as you drive to work, IN the study as you begin to prepare the sermon, IN the conference room for the staff meeting, IN the coffeeshop as you meet with a member of the church and carry their burden with them, IN the car on the way home, IN the dining room as you eat with the family and share in family worship, IN the family room as you watch Fixer Upper together, IN the Littles' bedroom as you tuck them in and pray a blessing over them and kiss them on the forehead, IN the bedroom as you read with your wife, IN the bed as you read a Psalm together and close your eyes and begin the night’s rest, and IN the morning when you rise and start all over again.

IN everything, tell God what you need.

IN everything, thank him for what he has done.

And do you know what? 

If you would do that -- create conversations where in the everything of your life you cause those things to come into contact with God -- then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything you can understand. For he will guard your minds, because in this way, living this way, in constant conversation with God as you live, you are thus living IN Messiah, Jesus.

May it be so (which is what we mean when we say, ‘amen’), in Jesus’ name.