Monday, May 11, 2015

Praying Without Ceasing 2.0

Pray without ceasing. –1 Thessalonians 5:17

I hold your right hand. --Isaiah 41:13

Be still and know that I am God. --Psalm 41:10

Yesterday I preached about praying without ceasing (listen here), and demonstrated God’s constant presence by having someone stand next to me holding my right hand as I spoke, just as Isaiah says that God is always doing.  I said that since God is always there, when we are not acknowledging his presence we are ignoring him.  If someone is in the room with us, we talk to them and it is rude not to.  Likewise, since God is always there, we can always talk to him.  This doesn’t have to be out loud with words, of course, but can just be ongoing in our thoughts.  This understanding of God’s constant presence is key to being able to pray without ceasing.

What I didn’t get a chance to talk about is how that analogy grows along the lines of a long-term relationship.  When our relationships with people grow to a deeper level, we can be with them without speaking to them, without having to fill the awkward space with conversation, and I think this is true even more with God.  We grow in our sense of his presence to the point where we can know his presence and his peace without having to always say something . . . a different understanding of the call to “be still and know that I am God.”

Although I am growing in my understanding of God’s presence, I still need to put some words into it, to say in little prayers throughout the day that I know that he is there, because this reminds me that he is.  I think maybe I need these little prayers the most when I am in the midst of a difficult situation, when I am seeing things “head south” and I have no idea what to do next.  “God, be near to all of us here right now and guide this conversation,” or sometimes even just “God, help us.”  And I’ll admit that after saying that I forget to notice what God then does to guide us, or to say thanks afterwards for whatever resolution has come.  And I might even get all the way to the end of the day before I am conscious of God’s presence again.

Oswald Chambers says that there comes a time when we no longer have to put so much deliberate thought into these sorts of things and we just do them.  I am thankful that this is true for some aspects of my life with God, and am trusting that God is teaching me where that needs to be true more.  I do find that talking about them gets us going in the right direction, and so I am curious how praying without ceasing works for you?  Is this a brand new idea or one that has become second nature? 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  –2 Corinthians 3:14

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