Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Though this may be one of the shortest verses in the Bible, Paul gets straight to the point. No guessing where he is going with this, right? If you remember a couple of weeks ago, Paul is writing some last-minute reminders in a letter he wrote to the church in Thessalonica (see blog entitled Oh…One More Thing). What Paul is instructing is not so much that prayer is a never-ending task that has to be done, rather it’s a conversation that is always open on our end.
Prayer is simply communication with God. We address Him with petitions, requests, thanksgiving, praise or lament. It doesn’t have to be fancy and filled with frilly vocabulary. It’s a conversation. I’m not going to take the time in the blog today to teach you how to pray, or ways to pray. I’d rather talk to you about the reason to pray and how beneficial prayer can be.
One of my favorite verses about prayer is found in Philippians 4:6-7, this is the NIV version:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
I like how the New Living Translation begins the verse. The version says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything”. Our anxious worrisome thoughts are the reason to pray. God is ready to listen and answer us when we bring to him whatever is weighing on our hearts.
The real benefit of praying may not necessarily be the answer we may get, but the peace it offers us. Now, I don’t want us to miss this. Verse 7 says “and the peace of God will transcend all understanding”. Some versions have the word “surpasses” instead of transcends but both mean the same thing. In Greek, the words means to rise above. The peace God gives us rises above our own understanding. It surpasses our comprehension. Through the years, I have been in situations where I have experienced this. I expected to feel panic and worry, instead I felt peace and comfort.
What does the peace of God do? It guards. One commentary explains the word guard this way. “To protect or garrison by guarding. Like soldiers assigned to watch over a certain area”. Stick with me here, the commentator goes on to say this. “God’s peace garrisons our hearts and minds which are our emotions and thoughts.” In other words, God’s peace watches over and is guarding what we are feeling and what we are thinking. That is why we don’t need to be anxious.
Do you see why Paul urges us to pray and keep our line of communication open to God? We have direct access to the peace that will help us and guard us while we go through whatever situation we find ourselves in whether big or small.
Shining the Light Brighter – Here is where you can dig deeper to help you learn more and apply God’s word to your life.
- What are you anxious about? Sometimes it is helpful to write it down on paper. Once you have, pray over it, asking God to give you peace. Then destroy or throw away the paper to signify that you will no longer be anxious. Letting God’s peace work through you instead.
- If you would like to share a story of how God gave you peace through a tough situation, tell us in the comment section of this blog.