‘ . . . pray continually . . . for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’ 1 Thessalonians 5.17-18
The idea of praying for even a relatively short period of time can fill some people with a sense of bewilderment, so it may feel daunting to read that God wants us to pray continually! As we are nowhere near that, how can we ever please God?
If we take prayer in the conventionally understood sense, of setting aside a period of time to talk to God, and we were to do that continually, we would never get anything else done. Presumably Paul is talking about something different here.
Prayer is actually the outworking of our belief that there is a God who loves us and cares for us. It is about seeking to be attentive to him as much as we can throughout the day, and reacting to situations not simply from our own attitudes, but by seeking to catch his attitude to situations. One way you can seek to do this is to let the word ‘Jesus’ be part of your breathing. As you say his name, you will find yourself catching his heart.
Someone once said that to pray everywhere all the time probably means that you have to start somewhere some of the time! So start small: spend the next five minutes doing nothing but letting the name ‘Jesus’ run through your mind to bring you into his presence.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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