Pray Continually

Pray continually ~1 Thessalonians 5:17

This is a pretty short and succinct verse that also, at first glance, seems rather impossible. Could this mean that I am literally commanded to pray continually, every minute of every day? How would I ever get anything done if I spent all my time in prayer? I believe that the answer is yes, we are commanded to be in prayer continually in everything that we do. It is in everything that we do, in fact, that we learn to know God and begin to understand His grace, mercy, and extreme love for us. It is in the details of life that we begin to learn to understand the will of God for us, but only if we are paying attention, listening, casting our own pride and selfishness aside, and focusing on Him and on His will.

In the book of Revelation John describes how he witnesses the throne of God surrounded by four creatures and twenty-four elders. Day and night, the creatures never stop saying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come.” and each and every time they say this the elders fall down and lay their crowns before the throne (Revelation 4:1-11). It would seem that these elders have little time for anything else, yet later, one of the elders carries on a conversation with John (Revelation 7:13). So which is it? Is the elder continually praising God or talking with John? The answer is that he is simultaneously doing both. The image that John saw was a picture of how we are to be inwardly oriented toward God in all things and at all times. 

The full context of the verse in Thessalonians is “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We are not called to be disconnected from our environment or our circumstances but rather we are called to be joyful, prayerful, and thankful in every situation - constantly giving praise and glory to God - no matter how good or how bad the situation may seem to us. In Revelation, the elder that carried on a conversation with John also never stopped praising God and casting his crown at the throne. John is seeing and describing, in a very visual form, the attitude that each of us is to seek and to maintain throughout every moment of our lives.

God never stops speaking to us and desires that we be in constant, unceasing fellowship with Him. We are to cast our cares, our troubles, our hurts, our concerns, our pride, our failures, our selfishness - everything - at His feet. In all things we must pray in the Spirit and let our requests be made known to God (Ephesians 6:18). This sounds difficult, and surely as we let the cares and concerns of this world distract and occupy us, it is difficult to be constantly mindful of God. Focus today on picturing God on His throne. Imagine casting your concerns and your troubles at His feet. Listen to what He says to you. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7

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