Think about this image for a second with me. Think of your own life and how you go about praying throughout the week. Be honest with yourself, do you stop to pray when life is great just as much if not more than when life is rough?
This is definitely something I am learning in my own life currently. I am someone who has the tendency to run to God with a “grocery list” full of problems and things I need him to fix or take care of. Most recently, I realized that I don’t take a lot of time to pray when life is going well. I don’t know about you, but I tend to only talk to God when I’m in a rough place. When I am with friends the only time we ask for prayer from one another is almost always when we are experiencing something difficult.
I’ve learned so much from what Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Thessalonica. Specifically in 1 Thessalonians 5-16-18 he states:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
This is God’s will for you. We are called to rejoice, pray and give thanks ALWAYS.
I recently watched the movie war room (yes I know it’s kind of cheesy, but go watch it!) and honestly, it has changed the way I pray. I find myself smiling and laughing to God and thanking Him because of His mercies displayed for me to see daily. I love sharing thanks with Him for answered prayers, but also rejoicing in moments when I see His will accomplished instead of my own. I have spent time on my knees praying that Satan would leave, that there is no room for him, and that God would shine brightest where he is the darkest. I’ve learned that praying is the best thing we can do when we are fighting our battles.
We aren’t meant to do this alone. The movie does a great job showing the viewers that God is Mighty to Save, but we have to be willing to “go to battle” with Him. There is a war raging on, satan is living and active, and prayer is one of the strongest weapons we can use against the enemy, his persuasion, and temptation.
Since beginning a change in my prayer life I have experienced a lot more peace than I have ever experienced before. These verses really reflect some of the promises I’ve seen fulfilled in my own life.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Who doesn’t want to experience a peace which “transcends all understanding”?! So many times I find myself searching for earthly things to bring me peace, but what I’ve come to realize is that these are only temporary fixes. The peace I’ve experienced has been from investing into something eternal and it has stuck around longer than the effects of my hot cup of tea, long hours of sleep, or chill moments spent with friends.
So what now? I’ve told you to do one of the basic things we are taught as a Christian, to go pray, this isn’t new information. I want to encourage you to look into your own prayer life and ask yourself, “am I rejoicing always, praying continually, and giving thanks in all circumstances?”. I know I can’t always answer yes to these.
So how can we change our prayer lives to become fulfilling instead of mechanical and automatic? If you are anything like me, I sometimes need concrete guidelines to help me achieve my goals. Something that I like to do when I pray is follow the acronym A.C.T.S.
Adoration- This is a time to express your love and worship to God. Tell him what he means to you and how much you love him.
Confession- This is when we confess all of our sins to God. Unconfessed sin creates a barrier between you and God and can hinder your prayers. Be both apologetic and repentant.
Thanksgiving- Thank and praise God for all He has given us and done for us in our life.
Supplication- (Intercession) Where we come to the Father asking Him to supply needs for others and ourselves.
God wants to celebrate with you just as much as he wants to mourn with you. The Psalms are such a good example of how David did both with God. He wept, but he also sang and danced. I hope you can find time to pray consistently, rejoicing always, and giving thanks in all circumstances.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.