September 19, 2011

1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray continually”

At the end of Paul’s letters it is common for him to give very practical advice on the way his readers should live out their faith. The verse above is part of one these sections. The version where I first encountered it translated these Greek words as “pray without ceasing.” There is a wonderful story called “the way of the pilgrim” about a man who literally put this into practice. Google it or contact me and I’ll send you a copy. As I look at this passage now though, I wonder if Paul wasn’t simply telling his friends that if they have stopped praying they should start again. It has been all too common in my life, and I don’t think I’m unusual here, to have times when it is difficult to make the time or to have the heart to pray. At some point I realize I haven’t spoken to God for too long a period of time. Maybe all Paul is saying is when you find you have stopped praying the way you think you should, start up again, don’t let it continue to slide. It brings to mind the old song by the band Journey, “Don’t Stop Believing.” So Paul says, “Don’t Stop Praying.” For many it helps to set aside a specific time and place for prayer. Whatever works for you, get back to it or keep at it. It is worth it!

Don

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