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Weekly Reflection

(10-10-2004)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Please read this passage in your Bible or follow this link: First Thessalonians 5:16-22

Let’s be realistic here. Pray without ceasing? C’mon. I can’t even be irritating without ceasing. More than once I have gotten into “irritation contests” with my son. Usually they are just arguments such as “Did.” “Did not.” “Did.” “Did not.” Or “Why?” “Because.” “Why?” “Because.” Back and forth it goes. We are both very stubborn and try to be the winner by having the last word. These irritation contests usually only last a few minutes, but it seems I can barely go on anymore until he cracks or gets bored with it. Yes, I know it’s immature, but when you are dealing with kids it’s the little victories that count (On the other hand, see previous devotion.). If it’s that hard to be irritating without ceasing which comes naturally, how are we expected to pray without ceasing which would take some real effort?

Here’s how I learned to pray: Bow your heads, close your eyes, fold your hands, and repeat after me… Now doing this without ceasing would be impractical and dangerous while operating heavy equipment. There must be an expanded understanding of prayer. Prayer is, of course, bowing your head and closing your eyes while praises and petitions are directed to God, but prayer can also be attentiveness to the presence of the Spirit. When a group of believers gathers for a meeting, and the meeting is opened with prayer, the praying doesn’t stop at “Amen” but continues on throughout the meeting. As the agenda of the meeting is followed, the praying continues by being attentive to the Spirit’s presence. If you pray in the morning, “Open my eyes, God, to the needs of my sisters and brothers,” the prayer doesn’t end when you lift your head and open your eyes. The prayer continues throughout your day, as you are attentive to the Spirit’s presence in guiding you to the needs of your brothers and sisters. Praying without ceasing simply means keeping an open mind and heart to God’s will throughout each day. Simple to write. Harder to do.

Pray. Pray without ceasing.

Christ’s Peace,
Pastor Scott
412-682-6886

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