Summary: Praying continuously doesn't mean you're head is bowed and your eyes are closed 24x7. All it means is that you're constantly willing to listen to God's voice in your life!
Last week we started our new series on Spiritual Lifehacks. I gave an example of a physical lifehack showing how to make external phone speakers out of a toilet paper tube and two plastic cups. This week I want to share something a little different.
How many of you like to listen to music when you’re studying or doing something else that requires concentration? I’m the same way. But, if you’re like me, when a really good song comes on you’re no longer studying or concentrating on what you’re doing, but singing and dancing and getting into the music, right?
That can be a problem, especially if you’re studying for a test the next day! You’ll get to class and all you can remember is the lyrics to that one song instead of what you were supposed to be studying! When you find yourself writing, “God’s not dead, He’s surely alive” as the answer to a math problem, you just might need to find a better way to study!
Thankfully, there is a solution, and it all hinges on the type of music you listen to while you’re studying! Believe it or not, video game music -- especially stuff from older games like Super Mario and Zelda -- are excellent to use while studying! Don’t believe me? Let’s think about it for a minute…
What are you doing with your hands when you play a video game? Working the controller, right, but what does that look like to someone who’s never seen that game before? You’re pressing buttons in specific, complicated combinations in order to perform tasks on the screen. What makes it even more complicated is that buttons can do more than one thing -- sometimes it’s “Fire weapon”, other times it’s “Use item”. But when you’re playing, you know exactly what to do, despite the fact that you’ve never really “studied” for the game. Why is that?
It’s the music. Video game music is specifically designed to entertain while making it easier to concentrate. If the background music in a game is distracting, the game won’t be any fun. Modern games often just use popular music, but older games like the Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Metal Gear series all use specially designed music. Try studying with video game music instead, and see how much it helps!
Like listening to the proper music while studying, what you do while you go throughout your day is also important. Tonight’s spiritual lifehack is Continuous Prayer. First Thessalonians 5:16-17 says, “Be joyful always; 17pray continually;”. It’s interesting how Paul puts that. He tells you to “Be joyful always” first, then he tells you to “pray continually”. He does this for a reason -- first he tells you what to do, then he tells you how to do it.
But praying continually can’t mean to be constantly speak to God, or be on your knees with your head bowed and your eyes closed 24x7, right? After all, just last week we learned that spending every moment with God goes against scripture. If that’s the case, what does it mean to pray continually?
To understand that, first we need to truly understand prayer. We’ve all heard that prayer is just a conversation between us and God, right? Like any conversation, there are times when we speak and times when we listen. That’s pretty easy to understand, at least on the surface. But let’s compare prayer to other types of conversations we have on a regular basis.
I want you guys to think of your “favorite person”. It could be a brother or sister, a parent, a friend, anyone you like. Keep that person in your mind while you ask yourself this: do you talk to this person in the same way every time you have a conversation with them? In other words, do you always use the same words, in the same tone, with the same emotions, etc?
Of course not! Sometimes you have bad days and you bite their head off at the slightest provocation. Other times you just want to hang out all day. Sometimes both of those things happen in the same conversation. This is what we call a “voice”. You also don’t always speak to this person either, right? Sometimes you text, email, snap, tweet, Instagram, whatever. Regardless, your conversation with this person can and does take many different forms and voices.
When you communicate with your favorite person, you tell them about your good times and your bad times, exciting events and boring days, if you’re facing a major decision or if you just found out that you’re going on vacation in a few weeks! We share life’s big and little events to people we trust and care about because that is how a relationship is built. As a result, the trust and care we have for this person continually grows and grows.