Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pray Without Ceasing

Some of this blog post is taken from an article I wrote for a local newspaper a few years back. But I was reflecting upon some of these things again and wanted to share some thoughts on prayer. I woke up this morning and my first thoughts were of some people in the church that I needed to pray for. I was burdened for them. I felt as if I needed to pray for them. Now, I don't say that because I am some sort of spiritual giant. I'm not. I say that because as I woke up, I knew that unless God were to intervene in certain situations, I would not be able to handle them.

It made me think about an issue of prayer. It made me think once again about what it means to pray at all times. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we should "pray without ceasing." This command is impossible if it is to be in a formal context. We have to eat, sleep, work, and many other things throughout our day. What he meant is for us to develop a continual awareness of God, his presence, and then talk to Him. If you are a Christian, talking to your Father should be on your mind all the time. As you wake up in the morning, as you are going throughout your day, as you are cooking dinner, as you are getting ready to go to bed, God is on your mind and you are talking to Him about what is happening in your life.

As well, Paul says that we should be "anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6). How can everything mean everything unless it is in some sense informal prayers to your Father? This means as I am writing this, I am praying for god to give me the words to say (and even as I write it for a second time I am praying for a heart of forgiveness for blogger). As I spend time with my children, I am talking to God on how to answer their tough questions. It means as I am playing golf, I am spending time talking to my  Father about the beauty of His creation.

If you are a Christian, if you believe in Jesus as the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), your attitude toward your Father should be respectful in prayer, but not necessarily always formal. We tend to think that if we have some sort of uninterrupted prayer for 30, 60, or 90 minutes every day, we have a deep prayer life. There are some people who spend those amounts of time each day in their closet praying, or even more, and they do not have a deep prayer life. For them, it is not a relationship with their Father through Jesus; it is something they do in their religion.

And so I pray. I pray as I wake up. I pray as I go through the day. I pray as people come to my mind. I pray as often as I think of situations that need prayer. And I hope you will as well. Let us pray without ceasing.

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