Pray Continually

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”      (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)


Last month I wrote about Brother Lawrence (1611-1691), the lay monk who was the head cook at a monastery in Paris.  There he discovered the blessings that come from continual prayer, what he called the “practice of the presence of God.”

In the days of Jesus and Paul (and to this day in the Jewish faith) the way of staying connected to God was to say little prayers called berakhot, blessings.  They are responses to daily living, moments in each day where we recognize the goodness of God and God’s blessings.  

The blessings Jesus made for the bread and wine at his last meal would have been in the form of these blessings: “Blessed are You, O Lord, who brings bread from the earth” and “Blessed are You, O Lord, creator of the fruit of the vine.”  Later, the phrase “King of the Universe” was added.

Every occasion, it seems, has its blessings, including one said upon exiting the bathroom:

“Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has formed man in wisdom and created in him many orifices and many cavities. It is fully known before the throne of Your glory that if one of them should be opened or one of them closed it would be impossible for a man to stand before Thee. How does the blessing conclude?  Blessed are You, that heal the sick and do so wondrously.” (Talmud Berakhot 60b)

Gives you pause, doesn’t it?  That’s the point of the blessings!

In the past, my prayers were mostly asking God to bless family and friends who were struggling with health issues or challenges in life.  A couple of years ago, it felt like God was telling me that while these prayers are good, they sounded more like my worries and worrying doesn’t do anyone any good. 

Then I felt moved to say a blessing for myself.  I thought about this carefully, about where I needed God’s help the most.  It took time to get it to this form and it is always open for revision:


Eternal God,

Thank you for the blessing of this day and the blessings in it.

    (I specify the blessings I experienced in the day and ask God to bless those who blessed me)

Bring in your light.

Give us eyes that see and hearts that are open.

Help us make connections so no one is a stranger

And strengthen those connections so we can chase away the spirit of chaos and division.


Help me leave myself behind, be light as a feather, and go where your wind takes me.

Heal my body.  Heal my mind.  Heal my soul.

Help me to be a blessing to everyone I meet.


Help me to open up and empty out so there is more room for you.

Guide my steps along the way and help me to stay true to your purposes.

Wherever there is strife and conflict, help me bring peace and harmony.

And wherever there is hurting, help me bring healing.

Help me to be quiet, so I can hear your voice

And still, like a pond on a calm day, so I can feel a single drop of rain.

Help me to flow in life,

Help me to flow with life,

And see the possibilities that lay underneath.

Help me to be in your presence at every moment

And, when I stray,

Speed my return.

And, as Anna would say, help me to be like you Mr. God.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


I say this prayer every day and, little by little, with God’s blessings, I am becoming lighter, emptier, quieter, and in God’s presence more often.  Flowing is hard and stillness is even harder but I keep praying.

After saying my blessing prayer for a while, it opened the door again to say blessings for others.  I tell each person about what is in the prayer so they know the blessings I am asking God to bring them.

What is your blessing for yourself?

Joe Bulko