Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (KJV)
Have you ever wondered why verse 17 is right smack between verse 16 and 18?
How do you keep rejoicing and remain thankful for everything?
I believe that Paul was urging us to have an attitude of reliance on God and to maintain an on-going conversation with God on all occasions and in all circumstances.
It is not so much about praying 24/7 as it is to be consciously aware that God is omniscient, and that He desires His children to bring Him into their daily routines and decision making processes.
We must not treat God as an answering machine or a jukebox, that is, we do not only go to Him when we want a need to be met or a prayer to be answered.
God must not be our final resort.
Our prayer life cannot be only found in the context of a corporate setting; Prayer is primarily in a private affair.
If we treat God as a person, then the establishing of a relationship is required, and that is accomplished through time communing with Him.
A relationship always grows stronger and deeper through conversations.
This is true for our earthly relationships as well as for our relationship with our heavenly Father.
“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.”John 15:4-8 (MSG)
Jesus is the vine and we, as the branches, need to stay connected and plugged in to the vine.
Without that connection, our prayer is simply a broken conversational channel and it will lead to unfruitfulness.
We’re called to stay close to God.
If you sense yourself shifting away, the key is to ask God to bring you back to range.
I find this to be similar to wifi-connectivity for our devices.
When connection is low, we know that we are out of range and we make every effort to get back.
Our spiritual antennas need to be sensitive to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit.
We need to constantly keep check of whether we are in-step with the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:25).
We need to be intentionally aware of God’s presence and the leading of His voice in our daily activities.
We need to intentionally draw near to God because that is how He will do likewise.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”James 4:8 (ESV)
I love the bridge from the song ‘Worthy’ by Elevation Church, where it sings, “Day and night, night and day, let incense arise…”.
This is a beautiful declaration that our Heavenly Father is so worthy of our time in communion with Him, not just once or twice, but throughout the day.
This song brings to perspective that our very existence on earth is because God first gave us an opportunity to have a relationship with Him, to connect with Him, to journey with Him and to allow His words to bring light and life into ours.
We were designed to receive revelations from the Lord and to hear his voice, just like the analogy of Jesus sharing about the sheep being able to hear the shepherd’s voice and following him (John 10:27).
Sheep are natural followers and they also have a tendency to wander off from the herd as well.
Thus, they always need strong guidance, direction, leadership and protection.
They need a shepherd.
The constant and consistent interaction of the sheep and their shepherd is key to their well-being, safety and development.
Adam and Eve, though created perfectly in a perfect garden, were immediately put into a conversational relationship with God, getting directions, solutions and affirmations from Him.
God had to speak to them on a daily basis to reveal His heart, His plans, His purposes and His original intent for all that He has created.
God had never intended for us to figure out life on our own.
Humanity needs the revelations from God in order to make sense of what is happening around us.
The broken channel of communication with God had been restored on Calvary’s Cross when Jesus gave His life for humanity.
We all have access to this channel and it is by grace, through faith, that we can freely commune with God.
It is something we must never take for granted.
Prayer & Reflections:
- What does ‘pray without ceasing’ mean to you in your walk with God?
- Do you truly believe that you can hear God’s voice? When was the last time that you heeded His voice in your decision making process?
- Ponder some ways that you can abide in Christ and to stay connected to the vine on a daily basis.