“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
Editor’s Note: This devotional is a continuation from last month’s Compass Devotional: Rejoice Always. The next part of this series is Give Thanks in All Circumstances.
Pray Without Ceasing:
Prayer is mentioned in the Bible 650 times and there are approximately 450 recorded answers to prayer. The bible recorded that Jesus prayed 25 different times and even taught his disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1-4). Psalms 23 is a popular prayer that is recited by even non-Christians. Some families have a time set aside for family prayer. For our family, we pray every morning before taking my daughter to school. Actually a couple weeks ago she started her summer break. When I was about to leave for work, we said “let’s pray”. She started to whine and huffed to the couch. We asked her why she was being fussy, and she said she thought prayer was just something we did during school, it’s summer break now and we don’t need to do it. But we do need to pray, because prayer is an important part of our Christian lives for so many reasons.
Praying Prepares You. My parents used to pray for my siblings and myself every day before school. There was a day that my mom had to go to work early, and we did not pray. I ended up getting in trouble and cried so much I got myself sick. The school called my mom to pick me up and when she did I told her it was because we didn’t pray. When talking about the putting on the armor of God, Paul finishes with saying, “and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18). Praying allows us to depend on God’s grace instead of depending on ourselves. Jesus knew the importance of this. Before he was to face the cross, he went with his disciples to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. When Jesus found them sleeping he told them “Keep watching and praying, so that you do not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41). The flesh, our own strength, is not match for the tempter.
Strengthen Your Relationship. Praying can strengthen your spirit and can strengthen your relationship with God. When my husband and I were first dating we talked to each other all the time. Every chance to speak to one another we did. Literally thousands of minutes getting to know one another. The bible depicted Christ as the bridegroom, and the Church as the bride. That is a very intimate relationship. But unlike our spouses, God is with us all the time and He is actively involved and engaged in our thoughts and actions. God’s love is personal, and He cares about us individually. When we are worried, afraid, discouraged, or anger, He knows and we should quickly turn every thought into prayer.
Through prayer we can share all aspects of our lives with God. We can express our gratitude for the blessings He has given us. We can share our shortcomings and ask God to help us overcome them. We can grow closer to Him and grow to be more like Jesus.