August 26, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Pray Without Ceasing Today

“Pray without Ceasing;”

1 Thessalonians 5:17

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      One of my friends tells me: “I pray twice a day.  When I wake up, and when I go to sleep.”  I rejoice that my friend prays.  I also recall a missionary who came home from Africa after twenty plus years.  He said one day he got all the way to noon before he prayed.  He felt ashamed and astonished.  Prayer reflects your fellowship with God, as you see it.

       In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul focuses upon just one aspect of prayer: frequency.  Well, how often should we pray?  God leaves no doubt: all the time.  You must be kidding.  No.  The Bible right here records the command that we must pray all the time.  Every day, all day.  Every night, well, as long as you are awake.  Are you getting the point here?  We must pray all the time.  Our entire life should be with a view of prayer, as if we were praying all the time.  We should be in constant prayer fellowship with God.  We continuously stay in touch with God, consciously, during the day.  We take every thought and every emotion to God.

      Now, let us go back to the previous verse: God commanded us to rejoice always.  Here God commands us to pray without ceasing.  From God’s perspective, our prayers should be filled with rejoicing and our rejoicing should be filled with prayer.  The two concepts go hand in hand.  You want more prayer, rejoice more.  You want more rejoicing, pray more.

       O.k., realistically, how do you pray without ceasing?  Go back to the basics of prayer.  You do not have to repeat any prayer over and over again.  In fact, the New Testament has many prayers, and they generally indicate that prayer means that we express to God our failures, triumphs, sins, petitions, praise, thanksgiving, worship, emotions, hopes, and plans–in short, everything in our lives.  When you understand that prayer means that you will be talking continuously with God about everything that comes up, you will suddenly understand how to pray better.  Everything you feel, everything you plan, everything you want to do, everything you do not want to do, everything you need God’s help with–all those things require prayer.

       I often hear people say they do not have enough things to pray about so that they could pray without ceasing.  Go back and think about the previous paragraph.  If you get into the habit of praying about everything you are thinking, and what to think or do next, or what to feel next, and on and on, then Jesus will become more and more the center of your life.  Practice will help.

       So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we pray without ceasing.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when I pray for friends, and we each encourage each other to pray without ceasing. 

    ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we stop praying for each other and ourselves.  When we no longer care about prayer, we can be sure that God always listens to His children with a heart tuned to love. 

Application for Today

        Today, I want to rejoice in Christ and pray without ceasing.  Will you pray without ceasing today today?


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