“Never stop praying.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)
“pray continually” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)
No matter which Bible translation you use or prefer; the idea of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 remains the same. Prayer is communication with God that is not intended to have an ending. And yet we tend to pray in paragraphs. So, how can we accomplish such a thing as unceasing prayer? I believe it can be as simple as seeing it as being conversational.
I have a friend whose prayer style used to kind of freak me out. We could be right in the middle of talking with each other and suddenly without warning I would be aware that he was no longer speaking with me, but with God. He’d make the transition without any indication that he was about to begin praying. No bowed head, no closed eyes, no announcement…just “and Lord, we come agreeing today…” The first time it happened I must have thought something like, “How weird!” But then it occured to me that it is the most natural thing imaginable. My friend was just speaking to and including in our conversation, the other Person present with us at that moment…the Spirit of God! I mean it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?
Suppose I am at home with my wife, relaxing and haging out together and she starts to say something to me and I respond, “Sorry, its not time to chat, and you didn’t begin with the appropriate address of me (such as ‘My dear husband…’ or ‘Most respected spiritual head of our household…’), so I can’t talk to you right now.” Yep! It would be a pretty cold night on the couch at my house! NO! There should never be a time when the lines of communication between husband and wife, or parent and child, or friend and friend should be closed. Do we think our Heavenly Father is ever too busy, or too distracted, or too uncaring to hear from His children? There may indeed be times when we react this way as a spouse, or a parent, or a friend, but not our Sovereign Father.
Or maybe we might think that God is not available for us. Maybe we think He is away and has left a voicemail message for us. “I’m sorry for any inconvenience, but the Great I Am has stepped away from the throne for a bit. Please leave a message at the trumpet tone and I will get back to you as soon as I am done with the current Kingdom business.” Perhaps, we imagine that Almighty God might say to us when we bring some need to Him, “Hey, I don’t mean to interupt, but could I get right back to you later? I have something really important to attend to right now. We can take this up another time…OK?”
When Paul wrote, “Never stop praying,” could it really be that he meant, “There is never a reason for you not to speak with and expect to hear from God.”? Right this very minute…even as I am writing this blog, I can actually be in continual communication with a God who is present in the room with me at this moment? And as you read this, you can speak to Him and hear from Him? My prayer at this moment is that He will say clearly to you, “YES! I am here right now and I deeply desire to hear from you and for you to hear from Me!” So yes, even right now there is an ongoing conversation taking place with our Heavenly Father!
So, what are you waiting for? Click out of this blog right now….turn off the computer….turn off the TV…or don’t! Just tell the Lord what’s on your heart right this second and then LISTEN! He’s in on this conversation too!