Simply Pray: Reflection on Pleasing God

"Loving God, May All I Do Be Pleasing to You."

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not Teased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10, NASB) 

When an infant cries, they are communicating to a parent or caregiver or whoever is nearby to come help! When two people begin a dating relationship, they are very aware of every aspect of body language and facial expression as part of communication. In my vocation as a therapist and spiritual director, what takes place is more than just me telling someone what to do. It is often a time of profound active listening and talking. When I have stood in public holding a “Free Listening” sign and the conversation is appropriately imbalanced, it still requires mutual interaction.

The nature of relationships is they are a two-way street.

So is it with you and God. Are you unsure? Consider the stories throughout the Bible starting in Genesis all the way through to Revelations. There is a constant dialogue between God and people. In the Old Testament, it is often through the angel of the Lord God speaks and people respond but there are many occasions where God is on the scene and speaking more directly to people like Noah and Moses. In the New Testament, we see God in human form in Jesus Christ - now that is speaking to God! The letters of the New Testament then tell us God speaks through the Holy Spirit in our day.

God is interested in you! So contrary to opinions, the idea of a faith merely about rules and regulations is far from what God desires. God's acts of love don't require us to do good but inspire us and empower us to a new life. The late bishop, Reuben Job, wrote it is an inspired life where you, “do no harm, do good and stay in love with God!” I like the simplicity of that, don’t you?

As you pray this prayer without ceasing, invite God to be part of all you do. Reflect on your day or each day of the week. Really think about how you lived and how your life has been pleasing to God.

This 1 Thing Has Changed Everything In My Day

How many times do you hit the snooze bar on your alarm or tell Alexa to shut up when the alarm sounds in the morning? Do you fight everyday to catch a little bit more of the dream you were in the middle of when that awful sound jarred you from peaceful slumber? Is your first though, “Oh no, not again?”

I totally get it! I’ve been there (and sometimes on the weekend, I’m right there with you). I can tell you a couple of things that have really helped with making it easier to get moving in the morning:

1. Turn in at a reasonable BEFORE midnight!
2. Don’t eat any heavy snacks after dinner.
3. Definitely don't eat after midnight! (80's joke)

Eating the right breakfast has been a great help too. Getting into a workout plan I like has been good for me as well but when it comes to what really has changed everything, it comes down to something I never expected.

Here is what has made the difference to change everything...prayer. Not just any prayer mind you but one prayer in particular. It is a prayer I use to model all the breath prayers I pray each week and a prayer I’ve been praying for many years and a prayer given to us first by Jesus. It is called the Jesus Prayer.

That’s it! “Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

I have prayed it so much through the years I realized it has been the words that come through my mind the moment the alarm goes off and I start waking up! AND THAT HAS CHANGED EVERYTHING IN MY DAY!!!

I’m praying it all through the day too, which is awesome for sure but it set the tone for how I’m viewing life, things like:

1. I’m giving God credit for being God.

2. I’m placing Jesus in charge of my life and my day.

3. It reminds me, Jesus has what I need.

4. It keeps me humble and thankful.

I didn’t even do this on purpose! Sure, I prayed the Jesus Prayer on purpose during the day, but because I made the Jesus Prayer a part of my spiritual habits, it became part of me and part of my life.

So how do you do it?

Start by praying the prayer over and over again: “Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Prayer beads or a prayer rope is a help (check out That’s it!

From that starting point, I have been able to face the tragedies, the joys, the changes and the unexpected throughout my life. When I began to pray it at the start of the morning, I realized it had been doing transforming work and made me so much more aware of God. Truly it has been the 1 thing that has changed everything in my day and my life.

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