Tuesday, June 7, 2011

1 Thessalonians 5:17

"Pray without ceasing"

written by Mark Rabon

Have you ever read this verse and asked yourself: "and how am I supposed to do that?  Does God expect me to be continually in prayer with Him?" The answer is yes, He does.  Paul does not add "except if....".  However, God knows that our feeble minds are easily distracted by the events of our life and that we can get caught up in our own world.  When we are not in conversation with God, we lose that intimacy in our relationship with Him that is so important to our spiritual growth.  God's desire for us is to be conformed to the character of Jesus Christ, that we display His righteousness in our lives as the Holy Spirit works in us.  We are not capable of doing this ourselves, since our flesh is constantly trying to satisfy its own desires instead of submitting to God.

In the Greek, this verse is comprised of only two words: "adialeiptos proseukesthe", an adverb preceeding the main verb.  The adverb adialeiptos means "constantly" or "unceasingly" and is used four times in the New Testament (Romans 1:9; and Thessalonians 1:3; 2:13; 5:17).  The main verb proseukesthe is a second person plural present middle/passive imperative of proseukesthe meaning "I pray".  The imperative mood here tells us that this is not an option for Christians to do when they have time or only at regularly scheduled times.  This must be done much more often than that in order for us to know God better each day.  The middle voice lets us know that when we pray, we do receive a benefit from the action of praying: we are talking one on one with the Creator of the universe.  What a privilege this is!  Let's not fail to take advantage of it by allowing our sin nature to make excuses to not pray.  "If the spiritual life be healthy, under the full power of the Holy Spirit, praying without ceasing will be natural"- Andrew Murray (South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor). 

So when you wake up in the morning, thank God for that day.  And when you finish getting ready for whatever you will be doing, pray again.  Pray whenever your thoughts about other things have departed.  Pray when you want to focus on something.  Talk to God about anything and everything in your life.  Let God into your life and you will never have to wonder about what if.

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