Pray Without Ceasing

by Stephanie Nickel

First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (ESV).

I’m sure you’ve heard it said many times that unbelievers take full credit when things are going well in their lives, but blame God when they don’t. Before we’re too hard on them, we should examine ourselves.

I’ve been a believer since I was a child. I’m familiar with many verses such as the ones above. However, familiarity isn’t the same as putting them into practice.

You may find this strange, but unlike many people who call out to God when they’re confronted by life’s challenges and neglect Him at other times, I’m the opposite. Oh, I know I should commune with the Lord when I am personally facing challenges or when I hear of others who are. Don’t get me wrong, I do offer up one-liners, but that really isn’t what God had in mind, I’m sure. I know prayer truly does make a difference, and I must do better in this area.

On the other side of the coin, when things are going well, I do remember to thank Him – most of the time anyway. Unexpected blessings are so amazing – and a very good reason to remember the Source of these blessings.

This past Christmas would have been the first we didn’t share with my middle son. Because he’s graduating in the spring, we thought the $700 it would take to fly him home would be best spent by going out to his graduation. In November I got a mind-blowing message from him. The college offered to fly him home for the holidays. Every time I think about it, it fills my heart with thankfulness. I knew when we packed him off to Saskatchewan he was going from one family to another. I just didn’t realize how true that was. (Thank you to those at Nipawin Bible College who made it possible. You will have this mother’s gratitude for ever and always.)

What about you? When does prayer bubble up and overflow? When you receive and unexpected blessing? When you look around and recognize those day-to-day blessings that often go unnoticed? When you’re faced with a challenge or a heartache?

The Lord laid on my heart that 2012 is to be my personal  Year of No Excuses. Prayer is one area in which I really must take this challenge seriously. Together, let’s focus on “praying without ceasing” – no matter what.

Stephanie Nickel

Stephanie is a wife of over 28 years and has three grown children. She is eclectically interested, to say the least. Among her current pursuits are co-authoring Deb Willows’ autobiography; freelance editing; and keeping up with a number of blogs. Stephanie is a member of The Word Guild and works on “Write! On,” the news bulletin for guild members. To read more of her poetry, visit her blog.



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