“Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Prayer is the life of real religion. It proves the existence and tests the condition of our spiritual life. As a true barometer of the soul, it accurately reflects the state of the heart.
This spiritual barometer is often at its lowest when the sky of life is seemingly cloudless and the sun is shining at its brightest. In such times prayer is often restrained. The cry from the heart languishes in the bright days of prosperity. But how quickly things change when clouds gather and storms come! Then prayer is in the ascendancy and the sun of the soul climbs to it meridian. Seasons of adversity, trial and sorrow are the ones when most prayer is offered. When billows of opposition roll upon us, there is a hastening to pray and a longing for solace in God our refuge. In these times, our spiritual barometer is at its highest. Must we not lament our inconsistency? Are we not dependent on the Lord at all times? Is such dependence really acknowledged when prayer is restrained or even neglected?
We need to maintain an aptitude of heart for prayer in all seasons. Surely this is the meaning of the divine command: ‘Pray without ceasing’. Literally, this is impossible. We cannot pray twenty-four hours of every day, but we can seek to have a constant spirit of prayer. There is to be no relaxing of our times of prayer. It’s a priority, in all seasons, to pray. Our Saviour prayed when He was on earth. He prayed alone, and in company with His disciples. He prayed in the wilderness, in the garden, and on the cross. And He continued the presentation of His desires when He went back to Heaven.
Christ’s praying is founded on His sufferings and death, and so is ours. He asks in His own Name and we ask in the same Name, according to His own Word. Identified so with Him, we must obey His command and believe His promise; ‘ask and it shall be given’. In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving we are to make known our requests unto God (Philippians 4:6). There is always One to help our infirmities, for we know not what to pray for, as we ought. The Holy Spirit gives us boldness and access with confidence (Romans 8:26-27). He renders prayer our privilege and we feel it is good to draw near unto God. Why then should we not be consistent in the performance of it?
If we are constantly delighting in the Lord we will always call upon His Name. Prayer is always as precious incense before God, when offered in Christ’s Name. When the censer of a believing heart breathes the incense of the prayer of faith to God, He will hear. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the soul. We need that personal communion with the Lord whether times are good or ill, delightful or despairing. Let our praying be constant, fervent and believing.
Rev. Leslie Curran