“pray continually…” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
“Pray attention” is a phrase coined by Ross Lockhart in his book Beyond Snakes and Shamrocks.* Ross is the intelligent, energetic, and mission-focused Dean of St. Andrew’s Hall at the Vancouver School of Theology. Plus, he can rock a bowtie like nobody else I know!
Here’s how he explains it: “We need God’s help to see God at work in the world. Therefore, I often speak in terms of “praying attention” to God. As we move about our everyday, ordinary lives might God grant us eyes to see what He is up to. Could a prayerful posture in the world help us attend to the divine activity around us, so often over looked in the midst of our hustle and bustle?”
That’s really helpful, and also very true. God is at work all around us. But, unfortunately, in the hustle and bustle of daily life, we can overlook what he is doing.
Unfortunately, we moderns have chase-the-squirrel attention spans. We have a tendency to focus on what we see, not on what we need to see.
…like grace, like holiness, like awe, like beauty, like opportunity, like God…
As we approach Christmas, I encourage you to pray attention. Embody an awareness of God’s activity around you while you commune with him, even in inaudible ways.
Noticing is a part of how we listen. It is a confirmation of his undying faithfulness and friendship, of his character and care.
Pray attention. How is he prompting you? Or encouraging you, or caring for you, or teaching you, or rejoicing in you, or leading you?
Because he is.
“As we move about our everyday, ordinary lives might God grant us eyes to see what He is up to.”
By Matthew Ruttan
—If you don’t have a church home, you’re invited to our online service this Christmas Eve at Westminster! It goes live at 5:30pm, and will be available all evening. Click here to watch a 30-second sneak peek.
–*Ross Lockhart, Beyond Snakes and Shamrocks: St. Patrick’s Missional Leadership Lessons for Today (Eugene: Cascade, 2018), 45. You can find it on Amazon here.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.