Pray without ceasing. What an impossible task this seems! And while it is often said Paul meant we should have an attitude of prayer, I think he also intended for us to pray much more than we do.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
All circumstances. All the time. For the big things and in every little thing. I think Paul would have called it redeeming the time. Making the best use of time we can.
We get caught up in the busyness of life. There’s so much clamoring for our attention, time, and money. Some days it seems we can barely keep up with things. Barely keep our heads above water. And we struggle enough just trying to keep a right attitude over it all, let alone remembering to pray!
“Why don’t the kids keep their stuff picked up?”
That’s the time to pray. If they’re tiny, take them by the hand and teach them to clean up, or if they’re older apply some form of discipline to help them remember. And instead of becoming frustrated, thank God that you have a family to clean up after. And pray for those unable to have children or learning to deal with a newly empty nest.
“How many times have I asked my spouse or room-mate not to do that?”
It’s time to pray. Fix what they did wrong, keeping in mind that you too fall short. Remember to be grateful you’re not alone. And pray for those who live alone, or who have no one at all.
“Oh how I hate grocery shopping. The crowds and decisions.”
Why can’t the cashier be faster, or slower? And why doesn’t she smile once in a while?” Have you thought to pray for her? Or for the grumpy gentleman who just left the store? Perhaps they’re bearing burdens and have no one to talk to. Pray the Lord will send someone their way.
And while you’re at it, thank the Lord you have money for food, and a home to eat it in. And what a great opportunity to pray for those who go without. Those who live in desperate need and grinding poverty.
God surely wants us to stay in a prayerful attitude, and to cultivate real gratitude.
But praying without ceasing also means turning these attitudes into conversation with him.
A daily quiet time is one of the most important aspects of walking with God. Without it we wither up and die. Or at best keep time on a treadmill, never going forward.
Cultivating an ongoing conversation with God can help us remember, in the midst of life’s busyness, to redeem the time.
Paul reminds us the time is short, and that’s why he concludes with “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
The Lord’s coming is near. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. Constant dialogue with the Lord helps us keep our mind on him.
Do you remember to talk everything over with your Father?
He’s just waiting for your next thought — he never left the conversation in the first place!