Praying at All Times
We are in the midst of a spiritual battle. Warfare might not appear to confront us at every turn, but the fact of the matter is that we continually wrestle against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). On such a battleground, prayer is absolutely essential—hence the apostle Paul’s exhortations to “pray without ceasing.”
What does this mean? Paul is not commanding us to drop everything and have a formal prayer meeting every hour, on the hour. Certainly, it is a grand privilege to pray aloud together with other saints. But oftentimes our prayers ring out only in our hearts. The hymn writer captures it well when he provides us with these words:
Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire
Uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
This is prayer. Whether “uttered or unexpressed,” it is fundamentally an engagement with God. And it is to be an unceasing part of our lives, along with thanksgiving, whatever our circumstances.
Lest we fool ourselves into thinking that prayer is simply a nice treat once we get around to it, the calls to continual prayer alert us to just how essential an activity it is. Prayer is not optional; it is vital. Prayer is not an item to check off our to-do list, as though five minutes in the morning will cover us for the rest of the day. It is impossible for anyone to enjoy an intimate relationship with God without walking through their day, and the circumstances it brings, in an attitude of prayer.
To pray, then, is to give voice—even if inaudible—to one of the most essential truths of the Christian faith: apart from Christ you can do nothing (John 15:5). The moment you think you can make it through the spiritual skirmishes of life on your own, you are in danger of defeat. But when you abide in Christ through prayer, He promises to cause you to bear much fruit and to fill you with joy as you march on in battle for His kingdom. Today, then, seek to pray and give thanks in all the situations you face; seek to speak to your Father in each moment He leads you through; and rejoice that in Christ, at every moment you have the ear of the Creator of the universe in this way.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
I Am the True Vine
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
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