Do you pray? It’s my opinion that everyone prays at some point, to someone or some thing. On average I think we tend to pray the most when we are facing hardship or great desire. I grew up with the teaching that prayer was just something that you did at an appointed time and with memorized words. There was nothing of myself behind my prayers.
I have had to learn how to pray over the past year, because without something to say that was written down for me, I was very hesitant to even try. However, I have since grown quite familiar with prayer and I try to live a life of unceasing prayer. My prayers may not get answered, but I do receive comfort and healing from my prayers, and a lot of times that’s all I need to get through one more day.
What does unceasing prayer look like, you ask? I used to think it meant spending every waking hour on my knees, taking a break only to use the bathroom, maybe eat a meager meal of porridge and to sleep no more than 5 hours a day. Talk about extreme, even for a monk! I mean, how was I supposed to take care of my family? Would I ever be allowed to have friends or relationships outside of God? Couldn’t I enjoy what life has to offer, because otherwise, what in the world am I supposed to pray for?
Have you ever had a prayer answered? Something that you’ve prayed for numerous times and perhaps for a great amount of time? When that prayer was answered, what did you do? Do you say “Finally! Thank you God!” and then fall silent in your prayers? Did you feel like you put so much time and effort, gave so much of yourself and your happiness towards prayers for another or for a single situation that you felt like you needed to “take a break?” You felt like you earned the right to just focus on yourself and what YOU wanted for a change? That you feel like you have been so disconnected from yourself for so long and have worked so hard that you no longer know who you are and so you need time to “figure things out?”
I’ll tell you now. That’s a lie that you need to stop believing right now! You are to pray without ceasing. That doesn’t mean that you get to take a breather and treat yourself for a change. There is NOTHING that you can do for yourself that will end good, because without God’s blessing and without following His will, you will end up lost, broken and alone. You will not find answers focusing on what YOU think is right or what YOU think you need or what you THINK God wants you to do.
In order to know or gain anything you must first give birth to a life of unceasing prayer and look to His word for answers.
To pray unceasingly is simply to have a constant dialogue going on with God. Any time a decision needs to be made you seek God’s word to know what you should do. Anytime you feel anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness, confusion, guilt, envy, etc. seek his will for you and the truth in how He wants you to deal with it. When you want to argue with someone, instead turn to God and vent to him instead. When you want to be selfish and shut out the world, turn to Him and ask him for a new task to “work on.” When you want to seek fleshly desires, seek his guidance and strength, for his comfort and love. Prayer doesn’t have to be long or formal. It doesn’t have to be more than one word. Sometimes it could be just a longing of the heart that you offer up to Him when you can’t find the words to say. A lot of times it’s simply having a conversation with a trusted and comforting parent. He knows all and can give wisdom in every situation.
When I find myself feeling lost or confused. When life seems to be closing in on me and like everything I do or try just doesn’t seem to turn into anything good. When I can’t seem to please others or myself and I start to question what it is I am supposed to be doing or what I should do to make myself happy…I have to stop and realize that I feel this way because I stopped praying. I ceased for a time and I need to submit my life and my will over to God. I need to relinquish the control I thought I had. I need to ask for forgiveness for thinking that I had gained enough wisdom to take the reigns for myself. That I thought I could find my own joy and that I had earned a break from being a good Christian towards others and that I deserved to focus on myself for a bit.
I found it interesting that in my search for an understanding of “prayer” and the importance of it, I found that in the 1820s was the highest recording of prayer being sought in the U.S. It was actually called the “Era of Good Feelings” between the time of 1817-1825. The war of 1812 was a fight for unity among Americans. It’s being called the Era of Good Feelings came with some irony because the battle for unity also came with strain and division among political parties but it was also a time of great reconciliation. Prayer and seeking God’s will can do just that…bring conflict between our desires and ideas and His, and it can bring about great reconciliation and good feelings.
Prayer and the answers that God places before you may sound or seem completely against what you think you should do or beyond your comfort level. It may feel like you would be untrue to yourself if you follow His wishes. However, it is not your wishes and your feelings and your opinions that you should be following. You should and must do what God asks of you. It’s not easy and we can never live fully up to His expectations. However, we are called to do our best. The more we try, the more we will see the fruits of our efforts and the more we will experience the purpose He has for our life.
I pray that one day, when I stand before Him and I am finally held in His loving embrace, I will hear him say “Well done my daughter! Welcome home!” My time on earth is for His glory and for doing what He has told me to do. It is when I will live on for eternity in heaven that I will have everything my heart could ever desire. It could be today, it could be 50 years from now. Either way, it will go by in the blink of an eye, so I will do my best to keep my focus on Him and his wishes now, while I can. It may not be comfortable, it may not be easy, and it may even feel fake because my own selfish wishes don’t line up with His commands. But in my heart I know it’s right because He said so and I know that if I give it my best that I will be rewarded!
So I will do my best to continue praying without ceasing. I will seek God’s guidance and council throughout my day and walk beside him as best I can. How will you choose to pray?Tags: Commandments, Commands, Council, God, His, His way, Orders, Praise, Prayer, Reward, Selfishness, Unceasing, Will
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