“Converting our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer moves us from a self-centered monologue to a God-centered dialogue.” – Henri Nouwen
I was taught that everyone should carve out time for Bible study, worship and prayer. Yet, I would always find a drifting occurring as the day traveled along. Rather than trusting God as my friend, confidante, guide, wisdom, and rock amid every activity, conversation and relationship, I began to marginalize His participation through forgetfulness and neglect. Life became about what I was doing, where I was going and who I was connecting with. Unless His help was clearly needed, I was self-sufficient and, as Nouwen states, “self-centered.”
Is it possible to develop a spiritual strategy to move one’s unceasing thinking towards unceasing prayer? Yes! Here are some powerful ways, based upon Scripture, to help us transition from unceasing thought to unceasing prayer:
Remember that God knows all of our thoughts: In Psalm 139:2 the Psalmist says, “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” There is no thought that escapes the notice of the Father. I am always more observant of my thoughts when I cultivate an awareness that God is paying attention to them. I am more careful to consider what He thinks of my opinions, ideas and random notions and more inclined to speak to Him about them.
Ask God to search your thoughts: If God knows all of our thoughts, we should prayerfully invite Him to examine our thought lives. Our awareness of His presence in our thoughts can lead to conversation with God about what is contained in them.
A good prayer for this is found in Psalm 139:23: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Spend time listening to what He may have to say about what you are thinking, and ask Him to show you how to change, alter, or act upon things as He brings conviction, sheds light and asks for obedience.
Take every thought captive: 2 Cor. 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” If we pay attention to every thought, whether or not it is Christlike, natural conversation with God will happen. Perhaps asking questions of God such as, “Father, how can I think differently about this situation?” will help us with the transformation of our minds (Rom. 12:2).
Fix your thoughts on Jesus: In Heb. 3:1 we read, Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.” If we have taken our thoughts captive, we can begin to fix our thoughts upon the things that matter to Jesus.
We have the mind of Christ: Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we, as believers in Christ, are able to align our thoughts with Jesus’ thoughts. “For who has known or understood the mind of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart” (1 Cor. 2:16) We have the mind of Jesus dwelling within us and can know the purposes of His heart for us.