Newsletter Note

Continually? Really?

by Ken Cooper

Have you prayed today? Do you know that many Christians don’t pray every day? Prayer is a difficult discipline to learn. When I was younger I used to read Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray continually,” and think, “Lord, how can I do that? I can’t just spend my entire day on my knees in prayer. I have things to do and places to go. I just can’t sit and pray all day long.”
But I have discovered that one can learn to pray continually. We don’t have to fold our hands, bow our heads and close our eyes to pray. In fact, nowhere does the Bible tell us to pray that way. But we can learn to live with a constant awareness of the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:22 that we are being built up in Christ, “to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” With the Holy Spirit living within, it’s not really that difficult to pray continually.
Now, I admit, it takes some practice to learn that discipline of praying continually. But there are some things you can do to help it become a reality in your life. First, pray about it. Ask God to help you to be aware of the Spirit in your life and to learn to pray continually. Then you can start practicing spontaneous prayers. For instance, when you are eating in a restaurant with your family and you ask God to bless your food, why not tack a little prayer on the end to ask God to bless those who work there or those who are eating there? When somebody cuts you off in traffic, what do you do? Instead of muttering under your breath, why don’t you just offer up a little prayer for them? Pray for your family and friends while you are driving. When the telephone rings, before you answer it, ask God to bless whoever is calling you. You don’t have to know who they are because God knows. While waiting in line at the store, pray for those in line with you and pray for the clerks. These are just a few of the hundreds of opportunities that God gives you each day to pray for others. Pray continually.
In Colossians 3:1-2 the apostle Paul says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Practice focusing your heart and mind on spiritual things instead of earthly things. Satan works so hard to impose the world’s values and its philosophies on us that we have to be constantly on guard to keep ourselves from getting caught up in earthly values.
Another great word of advice from Paul that will help you to pray continually is found in Philippians 4:8 where he says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.”
Why not start learning to pray continually today? You can do it!

 

Unless otherwise noted: Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House

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