(By Rachel Joyce)
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Th 5:17).
Our heavenly Father calls us to pray. He wants us to take the time to let the light of His presence flood our hearts and minds, and simply talk with Him. He doesn’t want it to feel like a duty to us (as it sometimes does), instead, He wants us to see if for the invaluable privilege that it is to approach the Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, Sustainer of life. He is so holy that the angels cover their faces as they cry out, “Holy, holy, holy” from above the throne and God’s voice shakes the very foundations (Is 6:1-4).
Before we trusted Jesus, we were in our sins and far from God. Our sins were so offensive and God’s holiness is so great that it required the Savior’s blood, shed at the cross, to wash us clean and make us fit to approach His presence. Now that we have been “brought near” by Christ’s precious blood and have been made children of God, we can go to him, our Father (Eph 2:13). God wanted us to have this intimate relationship with Him so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son in order to procure it for us. That is the value He placed upon intimacy with you and me. How about us? How much do we value intimacy with God? How much of our time and energy are we willing to invest into our relationship with God?
Relationship cannot grow without communication. Webster’s Dictionary defines the verb communicate as “to make known, impart.” In John 17:3, we read our Lord's words:
This is life eternal, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
God makes Himself known to us (communicates) through His Word and through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. When we respond to Him, we communicate to Him through prayer. As we spend more time in His Word and in prayer, we come to know Him more and more deeply and our relationship grows.
In our text from 1 Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing,” the Greek word translated “to pray” is proseuchomai, which comes from two words—pros, meaning toward or near to, and euchomai, meaning to wish, to will, or to pray. So when we pray, we are seeking to draw near to God, to lift up before Him the longings of our hearts. Strong’s Concordance defines proseuchomai as “To pray to God, to supplicate, worship, pray earnestly.” So prayer is more than just communication with God. It is founded on our relationship with Him because without that we could not draw near His holy presence. It takes into account our position before Him and acknowledges Him for who He is, the One who hears us and is mighty enough to answer our prayers. Therefore, prayer is rooted faith—that God is who He says He is, that I am who He says I am, that He loves me enough to listen to me and to choose what is best for me, and that He has the power to do it.
So prayer flows from our relationship with God and our faith in Him. As we come to know Him more deeply and enjoy His presence, our faith is strengthened and we desire to spend time with Him in prayer. It is His presence that we crave. The wonder and beauty of who He is delight our hearts, satisfy our souls, and fill us with a passion to pray.