Cultivating a Life of Prayer
By Gary Keith
It’s no secret that most followers of Jesus struggle with feeling satisfied with their prayer life. This is especially true when we read passages like 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice in the Lord always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Really? We are to pray continually? How in the world do we pray continually when we have so many other aspects to our life that need our time and attention?
What does Praying continually mean?
So let me give you a few thoughts on this verse. To pray continually is not prayer that never stops without interruption. We are not to be mumbling prayer all day long. Instead Paul was speaking of maintaining continuous fellowship with God as much as possible in the midst of daily living. It means constantly recurring not continuously occurring. We are to “keep the receiver off the hook” and be in touch with God so that our praying is a part of a long conversation that is not broken. God knows the desires of the heart and He responds to those desires even when our voice is silent. Whether words are uttered or not – it’s lifting up our hearts to God even while we may be occupied with something else. This is prayer as the result of settled dependence on God. It’s the first place we go to and not the last. It’s prayer as a relationship not a ritual or task to be completed.
There are times I have used Paul’s prayers as reference points or examples of how to pray. In fact, I have personalized Paul’s prayers for myself. They are powerful prayers and I recommend reading them and even using them for your own relational prayer life with God.
Read Ephesians 1:15-23 to see what I mean. In this prayer Paul prays:
Vs. 17 – That they may know God
Vs. 18 – That they may know God’s calling
Vs. 18 – That they may know God’s riches
Vs. 19-23 – That they may know God’s power
I think you’d agree these are great things we can pray for ourselves and for others. Powerful stuff!!!
Other prayers of Paul can be found in…
May I suggest you read them and even pray them when they represent the things you want to talk with God about.
Lastly let me summarize by saying that prayer is simply talking with God – we speak He listens – He speaks we listen – it’s a conversation. Our prayers are best when they are heartfelt and not out of ritual. My prayer for you is that your prayers with God would be relational – personal – authentic and continual.