Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pray Without Ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

12Brothers and sisters, we ask you to have respect for the godly leaders who work hard among you. They have authority over you. They correct you. 13Have a lot of respect for them. Love them because of what they do. Live in peace with each other.
14Brothers and sisters, we are asking you to warn those who don't want to work. Cheer up those who are shy. Help those who are weak. Put up with everyone. 15Make sure that nobody pays back one wrong act with another. Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
16Always be joyful. 17Never stop praying. 18Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.
19Don't put out the Holy Spirit's fire. 20Don't treat prophecies as if they amount to nothing. 21Put everything to the test. Hold on to what is good. 22Stay away from every kind of evil.
What does it mean to you to pray without ceasing?  I have read that verse many times before and it always made me feel bad....that I was not praying enough...not carving out enough special prayer time.  But I think my view has changed on this...I now believe that it is more of a constant connection with God.  Not necessarily out loud formal prayers, but maybe more of a thought.  Somewhere along the line I have become tuned into God.  He is always right there with me and I can feel him...I know he is there.  From the time I wake to the time I sleep I feel like I am connected.  I may just see something and say a quick "God help them".  Or it may be a sense of fear that grips me and I say "God help me or give me peace".  I do not often have long drawn out prayers, but I have small sentences, phrases, thoughts throughout the day most of the time.  I think that is what Paul meant.  It could be different for other people....but for me that is what I think.   I would love to hear your thoughts on this...
Paul is not referring to non-stop talking, but rather an attitude of God-consciousness and God-surrender that we carry with us all the time. Every waking moment is to be lived in an awareness that God is with us and that He is actively involved and engaged in our thoughts and actions.

Read more:
For Christians, prayer should be like breathing. You do not have to think to breathe because the atmosphere exerts pressure on your lungs and essentially forces you to breathe. That is why it is more difficult to hold your breath than it is to breathe. Similarly, when we are born into the family of God, we enter into a spiritual atmosphere where God's presence and grace exert pressure, or influence, on our lives. Prayer is the normal response to that pressure. As believers, we have all entered the divine atmosphere to breathe the air of prayer.

Unfortunately, many believers hold their “spiritual breath” for long periods, thinking brief moments with God are sufficient to allow them to survive. But such restricting of their spiritual intake is caused by sinful desires. The fact is that every believer must be continually in the presence of God, constantly breathing in His truths, to be fully functional.

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