Theology and Christian Faith
Thought-Prayer in the Communication Event
An Approach to Practical Life-Events
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
Pray without ceasing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
– 1 Corinthians 10:31
I remember as a child these verses made a great impression on me. I thought and thought about what it really meant to be constantly in prayer, even while carrying on normal and necessary activities of daily life. This led me to consider how I could be totally committed to God.
Over the years, my understanding and experience grew. I think I can sum up these life foundations in the term Thought-Prayer.
So much of our energy goes into thinking! Why not dedicate all that energy to God? Let every thought become a prayer.
Thought Waves - Prayer Waves
Our thought and our prayers are power, energy. Modern technology has shown that the waves radiated by the brain are similar to radio waves. When we think of thinking in relation to radio energy, we can literally visualize the power in prayer, the energy we radiate.
Prayer consists of our radio waves to God. And the power in our thoughts of any kind are radiated out into the universe, to God and whoever might be tuned in! Lucky for us, machines can only detect, but not yet actually decipher the meaning of our brain waves!
I have had some tremendous experiences of this sort of power. I remember a prominent early experience of this. Many years ago, I was driving under the mix-master (freeway interchange) in downtown Dallas. On an overpass section above me, I saw a bad car crash had just occurred.
Knowing there was no way I could get up there to help, I felt a sudden rush of what I think you would call compassion, and I stretched out my hand towards that accident and prayed for the Lord's power be there with them. I felt as though spiritual power flowed out from me through my prayer to them. Prayer energy is a way to be there when you can't be there! When we pray to God, we radiate actual power waves into the physical universe. This is why Prayer works!
Think about your spiritual Power of Pronouncement. In your prayers, you say good things to God. Your thoughts go out to Him. Are those thoughts the good things you really want to say to God?
The Holy Name
Hallowed Be Thy Name. This was another phrase I thought about for years. In our language it means, Make God's name holy. But, God's name is already holy! Isn't it?
Yet, if I think, pray and exert energy to the effect that God is holy; if everyone in my church thinks, prays and exerts energy to the effect that God is holy; if every believer across the world thinks, prays and exerts energy to the effect that God is holy – what do you think the effect of all that prayer-energy radiation will be!
Here are some of the results of such an approach:
Awareness of God's holiness and presence
Confidence in salvation and God's care
Sensitivity to others
Boldness in witness and work (Encouragement)
Awareness of God's grace
Acceptance of his forgiveness
Realistic goals for life and ministry
In light of that last one, the last step of Don Larson's "Learning Cycle" becomes more important: Evaluation. This applies to life just as to learning. When you set goals, you want to know if you have reached them. Evaluate your goals, then reset them! In light of God's grace, we learn He can forgive us, so we can accept it when we are wrong, when we fail.
It is not bad to miss your goal – it means you are human! That is simply the meaning of sin! So once we really acknowledge that we are sinners, we can admit when we have failed. We can revise our goals in light of our experience. We can set reachable goals, reach them or revise them, and maintain a positive feeling about ourselves, because right or wrong, succeed or fail, the Lord loves us! And His grace sustains us!
I have found that thought prayer helps me in setting goals. First, setting more realistic goals without lowering my sights on the ideal. Second, more realistically evaluating my goals and revising them when I fail to meet them. A constant awareness of God, and the sense of confidence about the availability of His power and holiness to me, enable me to accept failure and work harder to succeed the next time.
Now how does this apply to a communication event? Thought-prayer makes every event and encounter a sacred occasion. Every thought in preparation and anticipation is a prayer.
Every exchange and clarification in the event is infused with the dynamic presence of God. Every difficulty or failure is confessable, because God was a participant! Every thrill or success is a spiritual joy because God experiences it with me!
This leads to a wonderful philosophy of encounter. Each encounter is an opportunity for grace. God is there in the event, providing the grace needed when needed. Prayer preparation and prayer saturation for the event increases the opportunity for grace.
This was the original meaning of the misused word sacrament. In these sacred encounters, God provides grace. A "sacrament" is an "occasion for grace."
Our thoughts about others can be thoughts of good for them. Our words can be blessings to them, as our thoughts of grace take form in pronouncements of grace!
Our thoughts must be trained, experienced. The Holy Spirit will tell you what to say. The more it happens, the easier it is for you.
How do you make this work? You start with attitude. You must decide to make every encounter a sacrament. Commit that event to the Lord. Dedicate yourself and the other person in the event to the Lord.
Make God's name holy: it starts with our attitude toward God. Then this attitude extends to others as our thoughts become prayers for them. Our words become expressions of blessings upon them.
You have heard the phrase "agreeing with God in prayer." I used to feel strange about that phrase. But whatever "social" connotations that phrase may have carried for me originally, years ago I came to believe in that concept.
Agreeing with God – Think what effect we could have if thousands of Christians agreed with God on one topic! Committing their enormous thought-prayer energy on God's will!
You must practice this attitude, develop the skill, enlarge your capacity for thought-prayer and for pronouncement of true feelings of grace.
This can be a great comfort and source of power for language learners and culture learners. Decide to make every encounter in your learner role an occasion for grace. Bathe every encounter in prayer through your very thoughts. Dedicate your thoughts to God, direct them to Him and through Him to those you speak with.
We are told to "have the mind of Christ." It takes practice, experience, training. Many of us live in situations and under demands that create frustration. Thought-prayer helps in dealing with frustrations.
If you invite God in your thoughts, that may determine a lot of what you are willing to think! He hears anyway, but when you invite, it makes a difference -- in you, in the way you experience the pressures, frustrations and needs of each day, and certainly in what you are willing to think!
But how does this concept fit in with traditional concepts of "intentional" prayer. We still need intentional, purposeful prayer. I remember a time several years ago when our car broke down in the Serengeti Park in Tanzania.
It was already dark, our nerves were frazzled from this frustrating problem with the car (which would another whole paper to relate!). As I was outside changing a tire, hyenas surrounded our car. We could see them in the edges of the headlights. But as the intense darkness hid them nearer the rear of the car where I was standing, we did not know where they were!
Conscious prayer – yes, it is needed at times. But our personal thoughts can also be prayers. I hope all my subconscious thoughts can also become prayers. Thought prayer actually is an extension of "conscious" an expansion of this, and in reality, an intensification of "intentional" prayer. The point is that through training and experience, every thought becomes intentional and purposeful!
You are God's, and all He is and has is yours!
Stay in communication with the Divine.
You can do that as long as you can think!
No matter how intimidating the situation, how unprepared or inept you feel, no matter how strong the spiritual opposition. You are God's and He will not let you down!
In your thoughts, remember to
Bless The Lord:
Say good things to God, in your thoughts and prayers (This is known as worship).
Say good things about God to others (This is known as witness).
Bestow grace upon those you meet and relate to.
Pray for those you meet and relate to – as you speak with them.
Every thought a blessing, Every thought a prayer.
Every decision a blessing of grace for those around you,
Every decision a prayer.
Every word a blessing, Every word a prayer.
Every encounter a blessing, Every encounter a prayer.
Every communication event a blessing to all involved, Every communication event a prayer.
Every learning event a blessing to God's whole kingdom as God and the angels celebrate with you!
Every learning event a prayer as your spiritual power grows through your communicative skill!
Prayer Meditations based on The Purpose Driven Life
Prayer as Communication for Intercession
Principalities and Powers: Notes On Demonic Hierarchies
A Prayer for Cyprus
Words That Cannot Be Uttered
Related on the Internet:
Brain Wave Therapy: Thought, Music and Prayer
Healing Power of Prayer: Science Discussion Forum
Medical Efficacy of Prayer: A Scientific Study
Scientific Investigation of Prayer
World Peace Prayer Society
Originally published June 1993 in the Culture Trek series of papers
This web version developed and published on Thoughts and Resources in the series “Theology and Christian Faith” 18 December 2008
Last edited 22 November 2013
Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright 1993, 2008 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use. Please give credit and link back. Other rights reserved.