Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Unceasing Praying Is an Environment (Prayer Summer 2014)

Sunrise on Lake Erie

Pray continually.

Pray without ceasing.

Pray all the time.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

What can Paul mean when he challenges us to a life of continual praying? Here is one way to look at this.

When I discipline my life to include longer blocks of time to pray there begins to develop in my mind and heart a growing propensity to pray. Like a singer who rehearses a song over and over many times and finds themselves humming the song when not rehearsing, much engagement in praying produces residual praying experience. That is, the discipline of praying a half hour a day causes praying to reside in the praying person's heart.

Howard Thurman expresses it like this:

"The experience of prayer can be nurtured and cultivated. It can create a climate in which a man's life moves and functions. Indeed, it may become a way of living for the individual. It is ever possible that the time may come when a person carries such an atmosphere around with them and gives its quality to all that he does and communicates its spirit to all who cross their path." (40-Day Journey With Howard Thurman, 60)

Jesus was like this. People around him saw it. Thurman writes: "His whole countenance glowed with the glory of the Father." (Ib.)

And what was the secret? Thurman says it is found in Luke 5:16:

Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Note the word "often." Praying "often" produces an environment of unceasing praying.