P.R.A.Y. Without Ceasing

7 May

I opened my Bible app. Nothing unusual in the start of my day. No indication to expect something out of the ordinary. But the verse of the day didn’t wait for me to focus and read. It jumped off the screen and slapped me a good one. Just three words: “Pray without ceasing” from 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

After the stun faded, I looked at the verse again. What’s so special about this verse today? How many sermons have I heard on it? How many studies? So many times of asking how is it even possible to fulfill. We’ve concluded it can’t mean prayer is the only activity of thought and body every day. Having a heart ready to pray or having an attitude of prayer at all times seems possible, but even those are vague concepts.

My eyes began to settle on the word pray. I wondered if there might be an acronym to help explain an attitude of prayer. Four words dropped in place.

P for Presence
Jesus told us he would never leave or forsake us. God is omnipresent. He is with us, but we don’t always act like we believe it. Jesus said, “Come to me….” (There’s my word for the year again.) Jehovah said to Israel, “Come, let us reason together….” Prayer begins with quieting our hearts, our thoughts, and drawing into his presence. To pray without ceasing indicates we must abide in him—take up permanent residence in him—and be mindful of it.

R for Reality
I’m old enough to remember when we were taught Columbus discovered America. That was our reality. Then we learned we have our name from a man Amerigo Vespucci who was the first to land on our continent. Columbus discovered the islands of the West Indies—not the big continent. That became our new reality. Decades later archeologists discovered the Vikings were here long before any of the more well-known adventurers. Then behold, the native inhabitants were also immigrants.

God is real. His reality never changes. As ones grafted into the Vine, we become part of that reality. It’s our new and never-changing reality. Let that sink in a bit.

A for Adoration
Did you do it? Did you let it sink in? If so, then this next word should be a natural response. His Spirit testifies to our spirit we are his, we are in him and in his presence. His joy fills our hearts when we resist doubts, fears, and temptation—choosing fellowship with him instead. Adoration flows up from our innermost being to give honor, praise and thanksgiving for his marvelous work. What is impossible for man is possible with God. Jesus made the way for us to abide in his presence.

Y for Yearn
On our first trip to the Philippines, Cindy and I experienced many new things, among them the food of the region. Some dishes were amazingly good, a few equally bad. Before going, we had been on a strict diet to lose weight. We knew we wouldn’t be able to maintain it on the trip. Near the end of the trip, I turned to Cindy and said, “You’ll probably hate me for saying this, but I sure could go for a Big Mac about now.” At that moment, it symbolized home and the familiar. Longing for it helped me understand the yearning Jesus spoke about in his sermon. “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled,” and later, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness….”

Maybe “maintaining an attitude of prayer” works for you. I know for me, (P)resence, (R)eality, (A)doration, (Y)earn will sit in a prominent place among other acronyms I’ve run across over the years. And I hope it keeps me there without ceasing.

How have you understood and lived out “pray without ceasing”?

One Response to “P.R.A.Y. Without Ceasing”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Rock Solid Reality | Boosterclub Blog -

    […] all of this is in contrast with something I wrote about last week. (See P.R.A.Y.) The “R” stands for the Reality of God in my acronym. He really is omniscient, omnipresent, and […]

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