Prayer is a meaningful dialogue with a God who is there, about things we cannot control, but over which, He is sovereign… a sovereignty that is undisputed in His compassion, as well as His authority.
In the closing thoughts of the first letter the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, we find two of the shortest verses in the entire Bible. These verses contain a couple of simple, yet profound, pieces of instruction and encouragement for a people who were beginning to face significant opposition. We might expect Paul to tell them to ‘hunker down’ or to ‘keep your heads low and out of sight’ until all the troubles blow over and things get better. Maybe he could have told them that things were hopeless and destined for failure. Or, maybe he would have suggested that they slip out of town and find a safer place to live.
As it turns out, he points them in a very unique direction… in a direction that is aimed at the character of a faithful and trustworthy God, who is deeply in love with them.
In chapter 5, verses 16 and 17, he boldly instructs them to REJOICE ALWAYS and to PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. Both of these verses find their foundation in the character of God Himself. We rejoice because God remains true in the midst of each and every circumstance of our lives. He is reliable and trustworthy, even in the darkest hours of our lives. He is faithful even when we are not. We can rejoice that He is a rescuer of those who are lost and feel like their hearts have ceased to beat. Even in the course of disaster and despair, we find Him to be the rock on which we can stand safe from the crashing waves that threaten our stability. We never cease to pray because God remains the one who listens and cares. We pray without ceasing because, as our hearts search for answers, we can trust that He is acting out His part to perfection.
You see, rejoicing brings our hearts into the presence of God and our prayers bring our needs into that same place. So, therefore, what now? It’s pretty simple isn’t it… let’s rejoice and let’s never cease to pray. This is the language of God’s Kingdom both in heaven, as well as on earth, among His people.