1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.
Three simple words that we always seem to forget because, let’s face it, life gets busy. I can’t even remember to make myself lunch half of the time. I always think of that episode of Spongebob where he is trying to store a bunch of information, and he ends up setting his brain on fire because it gets so chaotic and then he forgets how to speak. Yeah, that’s me. Especially now that school has started back after Christmas break.
Here’s the thing about prayer. We think it’s hard, and we think it’s complicated, but it really isn’t. It is literally talking to God. It’s just as easy as talking to yourself. And it’s necessary. Just like breathing. Your spiritual lungs need prayer, just like your physical lungs need oxygen. All you have to do is inhale and exhale, and you will feel refreshed and alive again. If you’re not praying, you’re basically holding your breath. And the longer you hold your breath, the harder it becomes to live life well. Apart from God, you can do nothing (John 15).
Prayer is such a privilege. I mean, have you ever thought about it? We are able to have conversations with the Creator of the universe whenever we want, wherever we want, about whatever we want. That is the coolest thing. So why don’t we pray? What is holding us back? When I was at my home church over break, my pastor was preaching about this same question. He explained that we feel as if we are not qualified to speak to God. We are unworthy, so we hide. But here’s the thing, there is only one requirement for prayer. It is not righteousness. It is not wisdom. It is not focus.
The one requirement for unceasing prayer is helplessness.
You are helpless. You cannot live a life worth living without Christ. Once you recognize your helplessness, you will desire constant communication with God. You will want to lean into Him when things get hard, and you will want to lean into Him when everything is wonderful. If you pray about everything, it will change everything. God wants you to ask for more, so that your joy will be full and so He can be fully seen. God wants you to let him in, so you can feel His love fully. He is constantly waiting for your prayers, and He is constantly waiting for an opportunity to answer them.
Don’t push prayer aside. It is one of the most powerful things you can be doing. All it requires is helplessness, and let’s be real, all of us are helpless. We are all overwhelmed by chaos, by sorrow, by worry. That Sunday that my pastor was talking about prayer, He asked everyone to pray about the biggest problem we have in our lives. Something we couldn’t control, something that made us feel helpless. My list was so long. I couldn’t pick just one thing, so I just asked God to take it all.
Take it all, God. Everything that makes me worry. Everything that distracts me from what really matters. Lighten my burdens and guide me through life with wisdom and peace.
words and photo by Lucy Boyland