The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Prayer on the run

Beyond the assembly offer a short prayer or make the sign of the cross

In this column we’ve discussed intercessory prayer and gestures used in prayer. But what about prayer beyond the assembly? Prayer on the run, if you will?

Go ahead, admit it. You feel just a little guilty when it comes to prayer. You wish you prayed more. Or better. Some days you wish you prayed at all. These are actually good impulses, promptings of the Spirit to deepen your relationship with God. It’s the guilt you can do without.

You see, we often learn to pray from religious professionals whose lives are structured around decent, if not lengthy, periods of prayer. Then we feel guilty because we can’t maintain such schedules or ways of praying due to our obligations in the world.

But if we take a simple definition of prayer—lifting the mind and heart to God—we can find ways to pray while doing the dishes, driving to work, changing diapers and cleaning closets. This is not to say we should stop striving to find a time and place apart to pray deeply. It’s just that when those extended periods of quiet aren’t possible and there’s no solitude at home even in the bathroom, we have other traditions to fall back on.

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