Did you know that the Earth revolves around the Sun at a speed of about 18.5 miles per second? While this is
happening the earth spins on its axis at a speed of 1,040 miles per hour. It’s almost dizzying to think that the earth is in constant motion as it moves around the center of its orbit, the sun. It’s even more astounding to consider that we humans don’t perceive the incredible speed at which we are hurtling through space! Even as our planet moves faster than a speeding bullet, we can also walk, sleep, and eat without getting thrown into the chasm of space. I don’t know the physics behind this, but deeply appreciate the relative stability of the earth as I go through each day. This cosmic, delicate balance not only points to the power and sovereignty of God but can also teach us something about prayer.
In my last post, I wrote about prayer as the intersection of our being, life, and circumstances with God’s presence, power, and will. There’s another aspect of prayer that can be a little harder to wrap our minds around. If you’re like me you’ve probably wrestled with this passage:
“Pray without ceasing…”
(1 Thessalonians 5:17)
When I first read this, I wondered “How can anyone accomplish this with all the thoughts, emotions, activities, and people we encounter each day?” In a way we’re kind of like the earth: spinning around each day as we hurdle through the fast pace of our lives.
When we don’t experience the underlying reality behind this Scripture passage, it can feel like yet another thing we have to try to achieve. ‘Praying without ceasing’ can sound intimidating and impossible to achieve or put into practice. But “praying without ceasing” is not about human performance.
Prayer is like a two-sided coin (It’s probably more like a multi-faceted diamond, but for now the coin illustration will have to do!)
On one side of the coin is the intersection where God gives us the opportunity, privilege and freedom to come to Him with our prayers, thanks, needs, and more.
The other side of the prayer coin is about abiding in God and allowing Him to empower and direct our life and prayers. As this becomes the increasing reality of our life, prayer can and will become like breathing—ever present, never ceasing.
Just as the earth moves because of the power and gravity of the sun, so Christ followers are empowered to live in the power of The Son, Jesus Christ, as our lives increasingly revolve around Him. In this light, prayer is much more than just words; it is about abiding in God. Just as the earth moves and basks in the presence of the sun, so we can also bask and breathe in God’s presence: every moment of every day. The Bible puts it this way:
“In Him we move and breathe, and have our being”
To pray without ceasing means to live in constant fellowship with God in the person of Jesus Christ. My Dad once told me, “Don’t just pray. Be a prayer.” Those well-spoken words are ones I’ll never forget.
The earth derives all its being and energy from the sun, which is the focus of its orbit. As the result, it produces life. When we abide in the presence of Almighty God through the person of Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit empowers us to live in a dynamic state of fellowship that prompts and enables us to pray always. The result is God’s life in us and in the places He puts us.
This amazing relationship leads us to the kind of ‘prayer beyond words’ that the Apostle Paul wrote about:
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God”
When the orbit of our being revolves in and around Jesus Christ, we will be empowered to pray in God’s power, without ceasing.
I ‘d like to continue this conversation with you, so send me your thoughts and experiences. Some may even appear on future blog posts.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this
God bless you!