I have a spiritual question for you—Why do many Christians pray before they eat or before going to bed?
You might say, “To thank God for daily bread” or “To be grateful for getting through the day.” Or something like that.
But I think you’re wrong (no offense).
My hunch is that the real reason many of us pray at those times (and not other equally important times) is because . . .
They are triggers.
Someone at some time in our lives taught us that breaking bread and going to bed are triggers to pray. And, through repetition, we learned to connect those two moments to our conversations with God. The smell of dinner or the feel of our pillow flips the prayer switch in our hearts.
In fact, for some of us, those triggers are so strong that we feel bad if we take a bite before saying grace. Mom’s murderous looks for this grave transgression convinced you the angels are judging anyone who eats an appetizer before an Amen. “Can you believe that guy gobbled down two McNuggets before folding his hands?”
While I’m 92% sure the angels aren’t that disappointed, I’m 100% sure that the scenario proves the power of spiritual triggers.
As Christians, most of us would love to pray more, read the Bible more, etc. So, what if we tapped into the power of habit and set up a few more triggers throughout our days?
That thought thrills me.
Yes, it might take a few weeks to rewire your brain, but what if meals and the mattress weren’t the only times your mind felt the urge to pray?
What if the first moment of consciousness became a trigger, a chance to praise the God who kept you through the night and has plans to be with you through the day?
I, even with my allergy to anything A.M., have set up this trigger, which causes me to pray Psalm 90:14 almost every morning: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
What if the second your backside settled into your seat at work, your soul sought the guidance of God so that your emails would be truthful, your love unconditional, and your work ethic selfless and self-controlled? “Without love, Lord, my work means nothing, so help me love well today” (1 Corinthians 13).
What if the minute you pulled in the garage, God popped into your mind? “God, it’s been a long day. And I don’t know what waits for me through that door. Please give me energy. Help me to serve. Give me all the Holy Spirit I need to imitate Jesus in there.”
That, brothers and sisters, is the potential of triggers. Given the insane promises Jesus attached to our prayers, I can’t wait to try a few more triggers in my life.
Would you join me? If so, I’d love to hear your ideas. Share an idea for a “prayer trigger,” and let’s unleash the divine power of prayer together.
“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Pastor Mike Novotny has served God’s people in full-time ministry since 2007 in Madison and, most recently, at The CORE in Appleton, Wisconsin. He will also serve as the new lead speaker for Time of Grace after April 2019, where he will share the good news about Jesus through television, print, and online platforms. Mike loves seeing people grasp the depth of God’s amazing grace and unstoppable mercy. His wife continues to love him (despite plenty of reasons not to), and his two daughters open his eyes to the love of God for every Christian. When not talking about Jesus or dating his wife/girls, Mike loves playing soccer, running, and reading.
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