Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
- Matthew 7:8
“Our thinking about prayer, whether right or wrong, is based on our own mental conception of it. The correct concept is to think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts. Our blood flows and our breathing continues ‘without ceasing’; we are not even conscious of it, but it never stops. And we are not always conscious of Jesus keeping us in perfect oneness with God, but if we are obeying Him, He always is. Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life of the saint. Beware of anything that stops the offering up of prayer. ‘Pray without ceasing…’— maintain the childlike habit of offering up prayer in your heart to God all the time.
“Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer. He had the unlimited certainty of knowing that prayer is always answered. Do we have through the Spirit of God that inexpressible certainty that Jesus had about prayer, or do we think of the times when it seemed that God did not answer our prayer? Jesus said, ‘…everyone who asks receives…’ (Matthew 7:8). Yet we say, ‘But…, but….’ God answers prayer in the best way— not just sometimes, but every time. However, the evidence of the answer in the area we want it may not always immediately follow. Do we expect God to answer prayer?
“The danger we have is that we want to water down what Jesus said to make it mean something that aligns with our common sense. But if it were only common sense, what He said would not even be worthwhile. The things Jesus taught about prayer are supernatural truths He reveals to us.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (devotion for 26 May)
When I nonchalantly decided a few weeks ago to look at the Oswald Chambers devotion for that day, I had just wasted about an hour and a half. Maybe it wasn’t wasted, but I was not doing research to write something, and I was not writing anything. I was thinking of good times and bad, a lot of it from my military days.
If I were allowed to tell some of the stories, they might be interesting or boring. But in thinking of those times, I thought of the people that I was with at the time, and hoping they were doing well. Of course, I knew of one who passed away and maybe others had passed away also, but you think back, and you wonder. I was even talking out loud, as if there was someone in the room. Do you remember this guy? He was the strongest man I ever knew and I have met some professional football players. And this tough guy revealed his weakness to me in private, but I will never tell anyone. He is probably retired from the military on a great pension. It would not matter, but we all have weaknesses that we do not wish to talk about, and I will honor his.
It was this hour and a half monologue in that the other person was not talking.
Then, I get this feeling that I have wasted time and I needed to get “inspired.” The thought entered my head to read today’s devotion from My Utmost… To be honest, that almost never works. I might pick a half dozen dates at random before I find a good one, not that they aren’t all good, but one that speaks to me at that moment.
But if you believe what Oswald Chambers wrote about praying continuously, I had not wasted the previous hour and a half. After all, the only other person in the room with me while I talked out loud was Jesus.
I have written that I am so undisciplined with my prayer. There is no set time. There is no structure. I might not do any knee time all day. But reading Rev. Chambers, I pray constantly and continuously.
The old joke is that there are too reasons to talk to yourself, out loud or silently. One reason is: You like to hear an intelligent person talk. The other reason is: You like talking to an intelligent person. Of course, people hear you say that about talking to yourself and they think you are talking about yourself. But I know no one who is more intelligent than Jesus, and I feel a lot better about our “time-wasting” conversation.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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