1 Thessalonians 5:17
As Paul comes to the end of his book to the Thessalonians he has included for us a few brief phrases that sum up the Christian life:
Be joyful always [vs. 16]
Pray continually [vs. 17]
Give thanks in all circumstances [vs. 18]
Don’t put out the Holy Spirit’s fire [vs. 19]
Don’t treat prophecies with contempt [vs. 20]
Test everything [vs. 21]
Avoid every kind of evil [vs. 22]
These can be seen a short memory tools to help the early Christians remember what they believed, and how they were to act. But what does it mean to pray continually?
A year ago I broke my cell phone. Ok, I really didn’t break it, [I wish I had a story about how I was scaling a massive rock formation, and my phone fell from my pocket as I reached the summit]; actually I accidentally dropped it in a cup of coffee [which apparently is not good for your phone]. I didn’t have a cell phone for about a month after that, and it was a great month.
I’m not a lover of cell phones; we have a love hate relationship. I love them when I really need them, when I’m stranded on the side of the road, or when I need to track someone down at my convenience. I hate them because they make me constantly available to anyone who has my number. Anyone at anytime can call on me with a request. It’s not that I don’t like hearing from people, but sometimes I wish I had a time of quiet without the distraction.
Praying continually means that we have a constant connection with God. We have his personal cell phone number.
The words pray without ceasing actually mean “constantly recurring”. We are not to wander through our day mumbling prayers at all times, but rather what Paul wants us to do is to be constantly in communication with God. We are to go through our day as part of a long conversation with God, who knows our desires and wants to answer our prayers. We are to live with faith believing that God is there and that God is listening to us. So if you in need today, you know whom to call.