by Erin Bird
I’ve been talking about prayer the past three weeks here on the blog, and I’ve decided to finish out the series by looking at one more aspect of prayer. And to do just that, I invite you to come with me to 1 Thessalonians 5.
Paul, (along with Silvanus and Timothy), is writing a letter to the Jesus-centered church in the city of Thessalonica. This trio of church leaders is writing to encourage their fellow Jesus-followers to keep on in their faith, and continue to let their faith in Jesus change their everyday lives.
As they are finishing up their letter, they want to give their readers some last minute reminders. And in the middle of these reminders is this:
Three phrases. Three verses. But believe it or not, this is all one thought.
- The bookend phrases are about attitude…
- …which means they help you understand the heart of this wisdom sandwich, which is to pray continually.
- The attitude the bookends put forth is a positive, joyful, thankful posture…
- …which means the center thought is to be in the same vein.
- Therefore, to be told to “pray constantly” isn’t a burden or duty that we MUST do. Rather, it is an invitation to enjoy God by conversing with Him continually.
Many people will turn to God in prayer when things are bad. They’ll talk to God when they get fired, or when their significant other ends the relationship, or when the mechanic tells them how much the car repair is going to be.
But prayer isn’t to only be a “talk-to-God-when-things-are-tough” remedy. It’s to be an ongoing conversation with God where we continually grow in our faith and love of who He is.
Years ago, I met a couple that had met online. At the time, they lived several hundred miles apart, so the beginning of their dating relationship was via phone. Their phone conversations went so long, though, that eventually they both just continued talking on the phone while out and about doing daily life. So they kept talking while one was at the grocery store, or when one was working out in the garden. They just kept talking and talking and talking.
It think this is a bit of what God invites us into. We have a direct connection through Christ to the Creator of the Universe, so why not talk to Him as you go about your day?
Therefore, I encourage you to pray…
- before, during, and after you spend time reading in your Bible.
- as you read the newspaper or look at the news feed on Facebook.
- when a friend shares something great or tough with you.
- as you sit down to eat, or lie down to go to sleep, or hold one of your kids.
- when walk into the movie theater, or while out on a run, or when you are getting ready to meet a friend for coffee.
If you are like me, you can get so wrapped up in what you are doing, you forget to talk with God before, during, and/or after your task. So feel free to set reminders for yourself like setting your watch to go off every 30 minutes or every time you get a text message or have a drink of water.
Oh, and when you have a moment when you realize you’ve stopped talking to God, there’s no need to beat yourself up or reprimand yourself. Simply thank God for inviting you back into the conversation and start talking again.
Imagine what it would be like to truly rejoice always and live with a constant attitude of gratitude. When that is your posture, you can’t help but talk to the God who has changed your life through the gospel.