Nouwen writes that prayer is “practicing the present moment” (p. 23). He connects his statement to the devotional classic by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment.
Prayer concentrates our attentiveness upon the present moment precisely because that is where the will of God is to be found. We cannot back to yesterday and tomorrow has not yet come. God guides us in the “here and now.” So, we must pray to find and follow God in the present moment.
Frank Laubach’s daily morning prayer included the question, “God, what are you doing in the world today that I can help you with?” That was Laubach’s way of connecting his spirit and God’s Spirit to the present moment.
No matter what words we use, we should seek to do the same. This is what Brother Lawrence meant when he spoke of “practicing the presence of God,” and it is the key to understanding what Paul meant when he encourages us to “pray without ceasing.”
The present moment “never ceases,” so when we pray in it, our prayers never cease either.