Just for a moment, imagine the discipline of giving God one of your thoughts every minute, one second out of every sixty. If you can imagine that, then you wouldn’t be the first. Perhaps a guy by the name of Frank Lauback was the first. He is most known for developing the “Each One, Teach One” literacy program; but he also was a missionary to Muslims in the remote Philippines around 100 years ago. The idea occurred to him to discipline his thinking and give one second of every waking minute to prayer. He was serious. He worked at a plan. He practiced it.
As far as spiritual disciplines go, this one would go a long way toward keeping you thinking about God! And thinking about Jesus is after all what spiritual exercises are meant to accomplish. Lauback got his inspiration from the Apostle Paul. “Pray without ceasing” is what Paul had penned as he was winding down his letter to the congregation. He continued the crescendo of encouragement: “Give thanks in everything!” And to drive home the seriousness of praying constantly and giving thanks in everything he wrote, “for this is God’s will.” (1 Thess 1:17-18).
Not easy to give thanks in everything! Hard to do! Counterintuitive! So how might we get started? Consider this simple exercise.
We drop things everyday. Sometimes we drop the same thing we just picked up. So set you mind to being thankful for gravity every time you drop something. This is very simple. Every time you drop something on the floor, utter a prayer of thanksgiving for gravity. Without gravity I would be floating out into space, along with everything else that is glued to this circling ball called earth. Even the oxygen we breath would fly away without gravity. In other words, we could not survive except that God created gravity.
Hopefully, you are not dropping something every minute of the day; but this is a start on the way to more intentional attention to prayers of thanksgiving instead of sighs, groanings, and other expressions of frustration after accidentally dropping your cell phone or car keys. The next time you drop your spoon or your spectacles, thank the Lord. The next time you drop spaghetti on your nice white blouse or shirt, pray a prayer of thanksgiving. It will take practice. Even if frustration slips out grab it by its shoe stings and reign it back in so you can correct it with a celebration of God’s provision of gravity for your safety.
There are numerous enough inconveniences in the ebb and flow of our days to fuel a discipline of frequent prayer. Stop lights, senior moments, awkward interruptions, and excruciating equipment failures. Set your minds to turning them into opportunities of delight.
Dr. Stephen Williams