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10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:10-14

I struggle to find time to do anything else in a day except pray sometimes. I am paralysed by the worldly expectations and so I cocoon, cradle, rock with God.

Is this just me?

Throughout history there are people who would pray and pray and pray. 12% of British adults pray once a day, 49% of Americans pray every day. But do they pray all day. If I were to not pray I would be freed up to do something else but I don’t want that freedom. I just want to kneel and pray.

Sojourner Truth, Corrie Ten Boom, Helen Keller and Christopher Columbus are praying people with a story to tell. But did they pray all day?

He pleads with the Almighty to save the brave and loyal men that are the Continental Army. He begs God for a spell of sun or a hard frost, whatever it takes to make the roads solid and allow the convoys to get through. He inveighs the Divine, the Author of the Universe, to look kindly upon the colonies in their noble battle for freedom. He asks for grace, for compassion, for mercy. He prays that he might yet be victorious. He kneels for a long time, oblivious to the cold and the snow, alone in his solitude, or so he thinks.

George Washington praying –
Copyright ©2016 Jean-Pierre Isbouts

George Washington prayed, prayed when he felt led, prayed in awkward places but did he pray all day?

When you get into the minutiae of praying all day there are questions – lots of them… Praying with snacks, breaks, comfort breaks, leg stretches, walking and praying, music etc.


What would it look like if today, Ash Wednesday it was spent all day in prayer. Well it might look like the tax collector from Luke 18 or it might look like the Pharisee. Or it possibly could land somewhere in the middle, a bit of earnest prayer and a bit of “look at me praying.”

For many reasons I did not spend Ash Wednesday in prayer but I like many others ducked in and out of a thread of prayer begun when I woke and ended when I returned to bed in the night.