I am thrilled to feature my friend Leslie Newman from Journey to Imperfect for today’s post. She’s a popular blogger on the topic of prayer, so you’ll have a great time learning from her today. Enjoy her spiffy graphics too, and we both appreciate your shares on social media!
Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV)
Have you ever wondered about what it really means to pray continually?
On the surface, continual prayer might seem like an impossibility. As much as we would love to have more hours in our days for that sit-down kind of prayer time with Jesus, we have things to do, people to care for, and places to be. But we are clearly told to pray without ceasing. So what does that really mean?
We can always find a lot of insight if we go back to the original language in which a verse was first written. In this case, we need to go back to Greek, and we’ll find this definition when we look up the Greek word for “continually.”
without any unnecessary interval (time-gap)
(This definition came from Helps Word-studies which you can find on this page at Bible Hub.)
It’s interesting that the word “unnecessary” is included here. It seems to be an indicator that there are times when we there are going to be some “necessary” time gaps. We are going to get caught up in our responsibilities, and we are going to have times throughout our day where we are not in an attitude of prayer. And that’s OK. But the thing is, we don’t want unnecessarily long time gaps.
So the question is, how can we pray without unnecessary time gaps and what indicates continual prayer in our lives?
In a nutshell, to pray continually, we have to think of prayer as an attitude and a relationship rather than a task we cross off our list. If we can do this, we can eliminate those unnecessary time-gaps.
Probably one of the very best indicators that let us know that we are experiencing forms of continual prayer in our daily lives can be found when we ask ourselves questions like these:
- Am I looking to Jesus?
- Is my heart turned toward God?
- Am I starting the conversation?
As soon as we are faced with temptation, unexpected circumstances, or all the various and sundry difficulties we face in our day-to-day lives, are we starting a conversation with God to ask for His help? Are we doing our best to turn to Him and begin the process of placing our trust in Him?
On the other hand, when things are pleasant, are we remembering to be in conversation with God, thanking Him for His blessing or taking time to pray for others? This kind of turning keeps the “unnecessary intervals” at bay because there is not one single situation we ever face where we can’t make a conscious decision to go to God in prayer.
No matter what our circumstances, we can have an attitude of surrender and trust, and that attitude is a choice we make. At times, it can be a difficult choice to make, but it’s not impossible. We’ll fail, of course. No one is perfect. But effort is a powerful weapon against an enemy who would want to discourage us from prayer, especially continual prayer.
If you are making an effort in the best way you can, if you find yourself turning toward Him as you move through your day, then you are exhibiting the essence of what we are commanded to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. You are moving toward becoming a person who prays without ceasing.
The power of continual prayer is beyond what we could ever imagine or understand! Prayer is our life line. It connects us to an all-powerful God, our Creator, and our Sustainer. Prayer strengthens us, changes our perspectives, gives us hope, and helps us walk in victory through life’s difficulties. Imagine the power we have access to when we learn to pray continually! This kind of unceasing prayer places us in continual contact with an Almighty God. He hears. He answers. He changes the world!
Prayer strengthens us, changes our perspectives, gives us hope, and helps us walk in victory through life’s difficulties.
So together, let’s work to become more and more aware of ways to pray continually, to focus on prayer as a relationship and to keep an attitude of prayer about us as we walk through our days.
He’ll reward our sincere efforts, and we’ll experience His power in ways we never imagined!
Thank you Leslie for this inspiring, encouraging guest post!
Leslie is a wife, mother, friend, heart-encourager, and recovering perfectionist. She spends her days home educating, writing, and hunting wildflowers on her farm in rural Kentucky. Drop by and visit with her at her blog, Journey to Imperfect, where she talks about faith, prayer, and letting go of perfect.
Questions for reflection:
How does continual prayer deepen your relationship with God?
How does continual prayer change your attitude?
Readers, please comment below. Leslie and I would love to hear from you!
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