On Monday this week the following words were in my Jesus Calling devotional, “Rest in Me, My Child, Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Pray continually, asking My Spirit to take charge of the details of this day. Remember that you are on a journey with Me. When you try to peer into the future and plan for every possibility, you ignore your constant Companion who sustains you moment by moment. As you gaze anxiously into the distance, you don’t even feel the strong grip of My hand holding yours. How foolish you are My Child! Remembrance of Me is a daily discipline. Never lose sight of My presence with you. This will keep your resting in Me all day, every day.” (I Thessalonians 5:17, Psalm 62:5)
The first thing that caught my attention in these words was the phrase, “Pray continually.” I also discovered, in looking up the verse, I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray continually.” Just two words and written as a command. The word “continually” in the dictionary means “recurring frequently, not interrupted, and constant”. In the context of this passage in I Thessalonians 5:14-16, Paul is giving final instructions to the Thessalonians about how they are to live with one another. He urged them to live in peace with one another. He encouraged them not to be idle, but to be patient with everyone. He also said to make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong and to always be kind to each other. Then he says in verse 16, “Be joyful always; and in 17, “pray continually.” As I am in my daily tasks, relating to my family, friends, co-workers, and others, I am to be mindful of Jesus’ presence in my life. To pray continually would mean having conversations through the Holy Spirit about everything you are involved throughout the day. I don’t know about you, but I really have to be intentional and purposeful about practicing His presence in my daily life.
I am reading through Matthew for my daily focus, and I am again reminded how Jesus took time away to be with His Father. He followed His Father’s plan and not His own. I am so prone to planning and can easily forget the presence of the Lord. I can get worried about this or that and not first consult Jesus on the matter at hand. When I was a new believer, I remember reading a book called, “Practicing His Presence” by Brother Lawrence. It was life changing for me. To intentionally involve Jesus in my everyday life takes discipline, and it takes discipline now.
For several years now, Doug and I plan prayer renewals every couple of months, where we get away for a day or two. We have scheduled a prayer renewal for this week at the coast. What does that look like for us? We schedule a time of refreshment just to enjoy each other. Then, the next morning, we have time alone for several hours. During that time we can choose to have our intimate time with the Lord. We can take a walk with Him, taking time to do our Bible reading and have Him speak to us through His word. We ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us. After that time, we come together to share how God spoke to us, and we spend time in prayer. We will have a chance to pray continually. Taking time to be with the Lord needs to be intentional. I encourage you to ask the Lord to redeem your time and spend some quality time listening to Him. Have Him be part of your everyday living.
We look forward to getting away for our prayer renewals, because it gets us away from tasks around the house, ministry involvement, etc.
On August 13, I invite women in our church to come to my home and experience some prayer renewal through contemplative worship in the garden. More details to follow!
Remember, let’s remind each other to pray continually!