Here is another truth I want you to live out each day: Pray first, last and always. First Thessalonians 5:16-18 in the New American Standard Bible says, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” If you haven’t yet, tuck these verses into your heart and mind to get you through your day.
For today’s post, I want to focus on verse 17. “Pray without ceasing.” “Never stop praying” is the New Living Translation. I remember I used to think that this was just impossible. So impossible that it wasn’t even supposed to be taken seriously. I read, ‘Pray without ceasing,’ but I thought, ‘Pray when you remember to, and when there is nothing else you could be doing.’ I mean, really. Who can actually pray without ceasing?
You know that song What a Friend We Have in Jesus?
The second verse laments:
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
How true this is! Remember what prayer is. We get to talk with the Creator, Counselor, Abba, Friend personally! Why on earth do we pass that up? Paul’s instruction to pray unceasingly is not a rule that you have to feel guilty about breaking. It is more like a friendly reminder to drink, eat and breathe! It is for our own sakes that we need to pray. Prayer is an astonishingly extravagant gift. Don’t let it gather dust on a shelf.
At the beginning I told you to never forget to pray first, last and always. Troubles come. When they do, instead of doing everything in your power and keeping prayer in reserve when all else fails, pray first. Before you take action, start making lists in your head, or let your blood pressure hit the roof, pray. Tell God all about it. Talk with Him about what is going on, what has you excited, what concerns you and even the stuff about which you are fully confident and don’t even ‘need’ Him for. Then—now this is important—listen. Be still. Even if you are running as fast as your legs will move to the sound of ominous crashing, be still in your heart and listen.
And when it is all over, and you are only realizing now that you haven’t taken a normal breath in a day, week or month, pray. Thank Him. Go over it all again. Learn from it. Relive it in the safety of His arms. Cry. Laugh. Praise Him. Find joy in the sorrow. Ask Him to show you the redemption in it all. Pray last.
During the trials, during the mundane, during the things that try to steal our minds from the truth of this life…Pray always. Pray without ceasing. It means acknowledging and welcoming His presence and care in your life. It means Jesus isn’t just your ticket to Heaven, but your Lord and Friend here and now.
I love you both so much. Remember you aren’t alone. Talk to the One Who is always with you. Listen to His wisdom, experience His love, take His everlasting life into yourselves.