At Georgia Tech, Christian activities took a lot of my time. One activity I didn’t relish was 5:00 a.m. prayer with other male students on Wednesday mornings. I’ve always been a night person. But lest I appear unspiritual, I showed up every week.
A local church let us pray in their library. Most of the guys sat on chairs or couches. But a few of us stretched out face-down on the plush carpeting. Prostrate before God, we imagined. One morning I woke up from a sound sleep after all the others had gone on to class.
Those prayer times made me aware of different styles of prayer. Some of the guys gave long spiritual sounding prayers using a lot of King James English. At the time, I thought they were posturing. (I’ve already admitted that I attended for appearance sake myself.) I then adopted a simple language and halting style for public prayer that I continue to use.
About that time I also started to use what I call prayer triggers–an occurrence that brings a person or a need to mind. For example, loading paper into a printer reminds me of a friend who first showed me how. I frequently pray for him at that time. Whenever national weather forecasts predict severe weather in a certain area, I usually remember and pray for those I know living there. I know some young Air Force officers, deployed to bases in conflict areas. Jets passing over our house remind me to pray for them.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing.” I fall short in that admonition. Prayer triggers help.