It always places a smile on my face to see the devoted affection that stems from young love. There is a vibrancy and affection that clings to the other almost as if there is a sense that if it didn’t it would be lost. The lovers crave to spend as much time as possible together, and when that is not physically possible, we have any number of other means. It is no longer a letter, but a phone call, a text, video chat, multi-media platforms, and other technological marvels that fill the gap. We all know the feeling, and perhaps some of us should reignite it if we can, but there is a desire to spend every moment with the other which fuels the couple’s passion.
Whenever I think of those young lovers I always begin pondering why we don’t do the same with God. He loves us better than any earthly parent. He looks beyond the darkness that haunts our existence, bypasses the faults we think only we know, and reaches out in sacrificial love just so He can tell you how special you are to him. Yet we are poor partners in this relationship. We give it some thought, whenever the Pastor mentions in in church, but by and large we live lives without much regard to this amazing relationship God invites us into. Our desire to be in conversation with him seems to be reserved for those special moments when we find the time. It is not a consistent, ongoing, experience.
Paul tells the Thessalonian to rejoice always and pray without ceasing. He encourages us to live a life in constant prayer. I once heard someone say that means we don’t need to pray as everything we do is prayer. I disagree, for prayer is always an intentional activity and not something that happens by chance. Paul is urging the Thessalonians to live lives that include constant prayer. Prayer as they wake up, prayer as they eat, or work, or play, or socially engage, prayer when they sleep, and pray that happens in all the times in-between. Prayer that believes that God is with them even when they aren’t aware of his presence.
It’s hard to live a life of prayer this way if you don’t already have a disciplined life in which prayer already exists. So that is always the first step, to set aside a specific time each day for prayer. Constant prayer extends that time into the day and begins with a reminder and an invitation for God to come with you as your day unfolds. It then requires self-discipline to take those quiet moments, or those hectic moments, and remind yourself that God is present. It give this opportunity to just ask God to be with you, to guide you, to watch over the person you have encountered.
There are times when life is so difficult we don’t know how to do this. The tragedy and chaos of the experiences we have often leave us unable to pray. The wonderful thing about our Father is that he already knows what is on your heart. He already knows the pain and struggle you’re facing. And he gives you his Spirit to intercede for you at those times (Rm. 8:26,27). When your life is one of constant prayer, simply acknowledging the Spirit’s intercession at those times is more than sufficient.
Our lives need to be lives of prayer. We need to recapture the joy of young lovers with our God whose love for us far surpasses anything we can comprehend. Adopting a life of prayer is a challenge, but a=one that is very rewarding. As you live your life in prayer, you start to be more in tune with God. You begin to see ways in which God is at work like you’ve never seen them before. Prayer changes lives, and God works that in you before he does it in others. So, rejoice always and pray without ceasing.