Rejoice always,pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
While trying to write this introduction, I kept thinking about a conversation I had with a girlfriend several years ago. She admitted, despite her faith and regular church attendance, she rarely ever prayed. She said, “Since God knows what I need, I figure I don’t need to spend time praying.” At the time I couldn’t articulate the importance of prayer and I still feel relatively ill-equipped to explain it to you. But, I will ask you this, “why wouldn’t you want to talk to God?” We have direct access to The Creator and Redeemer. When we want to grow close to a friend we spend time with them, we talk, we tell them our concerns, our secrets, and our joys. Time in prayer is essential to knowing God. The more we pray the more we get to know God and the more our love for God grows. Nurturing an intimate relationship with God is crucial to trusting God. Trust is critical to enable us to “give thanks in all circumstances” especially when life does not make sense or when God says “No” when you desperately wanted Him to say “Yes.”
Am I there yet, can I trust God in the face of the worst? No, I fear I would fail miserably. Fortunately, I have not had to find out. However, I enjoy spending time in prayer. When I am stressed, prayer is often the only thing that calms me down. However, I admit I fall short of truly trusting God. There are many areas of life where I tightly grip the reins when I should be letting go and trusting God. I have come a long way, but I realized I still have a long way to go. So let’s take this journey together and learn how it is possible to follow Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians and “Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances.”
Dear Heavenly Lord, teach me to pray. Help me find the time to pray and the desire to know you intimately. Teach me not only to talk to you in prayer but also to listen for Your voice. Give me a sensitive heart and a keen “ear” to know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to me. May I learn to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances for I know that this is Your will for me in Christ Jesus, Amen.