1 Thessalonians 5:17-19
“Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.”
How does one pray? All too often we stop after the short prayer asking for something, or that angry monologue about how we feel lift alone, abandoned, hurt, etc. We know that some prayers take up all of our thoughts, so how can we possibly pray all the time?
I love 1 Thessalonians because it uses the word ‘ceasing’. Unlike to ‘stop’ which can be a pause or break for something, ‘cease’ means to bring to an end. The significance here is twofold. To pray without ceasing, does not mean we continue to have a monologue in our brains all day every day. It means that once we have prayed, that prayer does not end. To pray without ceasing reminds me of another profound verse: 1 Corinthians 10:13.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
To pray without ceasing is to live a life in constant awareness of God. Resting in His hands, not our own. In short, it is the ultimate act of humility. To pray, brings us into contact with our Father. When you are in a constant state of awareness that we are loved, cared for, protected, and in the service of our God, how can we bear to live our lives out of deceit or selfish ambition? I believe that I am called to step out of my self-reliant world into the life of unceasing prayer. The life where I am in constant connection and awareness of my Father and His will for my life.
With this in mind, there is nothing I can do that does not bring glory to God when I am in communion with the Spirit. The last verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:19 lays out not a suggestion, but a command. “Quench not the Spirit.” Do not try to ignore the Spirit, because the Spirit of God will not be ignored forever. My father told me a story.
When he was twenty-eight years old, his life was leading nowhere. At the time he dated my mom, and they were very close to breaking up over different problems they encountered. My dad drove his car along a road leading home, and the road turned. He did not turn with the road. On the trajectory he was heading straight for a large oak tree. One moment before he crashed into the tree and ended his life, the car bumped into a curb, sending the vehicle spinning back onto the road and out of harms way. Three months later, my parents were engaged. My father told me this story because, directly after the near crash, he was consumed by what he called “a holy fear”. He felt God’s presence strongly and went on to feel that he needed to read the book of Job.
The same holy fear my dad felt appears in most people when they have an encounter that forces them to recognize one fact:
Even when we are unaware of God’s presence, He is not unaware of us.
Living in the knowledge of God can be difficult, but the promise that He will never forget us provides a vibrant reason why we should at least try to pray without ceasing. In a way, the more selfish move would be to try living on our own accord, saying stubbornly to God that “I got this” and “I’m not that bad”. There is nothing more dangerous than living from our own power. Attempting to live on our own wills is exactly what leads us to those moments when we snap and say “life isn’t worth it.”
Do not believe that lie.
We are here for a reason, even if we cannot see it. So try just for a day, try living in a state of awareness, bringing glory to God, praying without ceasing.
Be blessed today.