Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-17)
Pray according to God’s will.
To pray without ceasing means that prayer is not primarily about us; it’s about God. While God wants us to come to him with our concerns, we must understand as fully as possible what his concerns are.
When a man asked Jesus what the greatest commandment is, he answered by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:36, 39). Jesus died so we would have the freedom and capacity to love God with all we are. And to love each other.
First, seek to love God with everything you are through and in prayer. Then, seek to love your neighbour through prayer. In this way you seek God’s will in every aspect of your prayers, as you include the concerns, requests, and needs for the people God has put around you.
- Your literal neighbour,
- Those in your church,
- The missionaries that you know,
- Strangers you’ve interacted with recently; and
- Your pastors and your politicians.
Pray without ceasing for all of them as you do for yourself—with God’s will paramount in your prayers for them.
Through your times of active prayer, the Spirit will begin to cultivate an attitude of unceasing prayer, and this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.