We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 1 Thessalonians 1:2.
This is something with which I struggle. In fact, it was the subject of my personal devotion just this week. How can someone continually pray?
If you read the verse, you’d think that all Paul, Silas, and Timothy did was pray; all day long, nothing but prayer. Even in the first century, that would have been socially odd. If you were praying all the time, you wouldn’t get anything else done. You’d actually turn off the people you’re trying to witness. Quite honestly, if you aren’t working, you aren’t using the talents and resources God made available to you, and that itself is ungodly (and lazy).
Joyce Meyer says that prayer is an attitude. It’s an action that we should do like breathing, even unconsciously. “Our spiritual life is designed to be nurtured and sustained by continual prayer,” she said. Our spirit feeds on time with God. We feed it through prayer, which is a conversation between you and your Maker. It’s the way God gives us to communicate our thoughts and feelings to Him, and it’s one way He imparts His voice into our lives. Think of it: you get to have a one-on-one, private (if you want it to be) conversation with the Creator of all things and the God who saved you from your sins. You don’t need a priest or pastor to do it for you: you GET TO do it yourself. He hears you and He always answers you, even when the answer takes years to understand. Sometimes it’s a formal conversation and sometimes it’s just a chat.
Yet know these things. Prayer isn’t about always hitting your knees, or bowing your head, or even doing it in private. To pray, you don’t have to say the Lord’s Prayer first, or end every sentence with “selah” or “amen.” You don’t have to act formal, and you don’t have to be in a church pew, be led by a pastor (or have him and only him do the praying), and you don’t have to pray in a deep voice that might resonate in the 15th Century king’s English.
Indeed, so many “don’ts” seem to paint prayer in a completely different light, one different from the kind of light painted by Paul, Silas, and Timothy. And Joyce Meyer. The light these folks shine on prayer is that it’s a way to talk with God, to thank Him for all He does, and to talk with Him about other people who affect you. It’s an active way to battle evil. It’s a real thing instead of just some church practice. It’s something we get to do as easily and frequently as breathing.
For further reading: Romans 1:8, Ephesians 5:20, Philippians 1:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 1:3.
Lord, thank You for prayer. Hear my prayers, teach me to pray better, and thank You for the blessing You give of other people.