Monday, May 19, 2014
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
-I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NRS)
How are we to pray without ceasing, as we are commanded to do in Scripture? Some view this verse in 1 Thessalonians as a poetic ideal, a nice idea but impractical. Others simply dismiss this verse as hyperbole. Paul, however, undoubtedly saw this as an imperative: he indeed exhorts us all to rejoice at all times and to give thanks in all circumstances—just as he did in prison—and he calls us to pray without stopping. How are we to respond?
Instead of seeing this verse as an impossible task, we can begin to recognize it as a wonderful invitation! God welcomes us to stay connected with him the whole way through the day!
Prayer in Action
One way that we can begin to realize this kind of unbroken prayer in our lives is by dedicating each and every task of the day to the Lord, allowing everything we do to become prayer in action. As I wash the dishes in the morning, I can consciously serve my wife and offer my work as a prayer to the Lord. While I labor at various responsibilities at school or work, I intentionally fulfill my duty as an act of worship and prayer. As I mow the lawn in the evening, I serve God in every step of my activity.
“Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters,” states Colossians 3:23-24, “since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ” ( NRS).
By committing each activity to God, I consciously give myself to the Lord and invite him in. By doing so, I also subconsciously keep the Lord in mind as I continue with that chore, knowing that I serve Christ in all that I am doing.
Not a Replacement
I never want this kind of ongoing prayer in action to replace solitude with God in my life, any more than I want texting my wife through the day to replace quality time with her. Rather, such ongoing prayer is an extension of that quality time and personal relationship. It “puts legs” on my love for the Lord, as I serve him in all that I do.
As I pray in action, my whole day becomes prayer—a communication, a communion—with the Lord. Sometimes consciously, other times in the back of my mind, I am aware of God’s love for me and my service as an act of love in return.
What a wonderful way to connect with the Lord throughout the day—a genuine way to pray without ceasing! The more I do this, the more my whole life becomes an unceasing prayer!
© 2013 Glenn E. Myers