March 24 I Thursday
“...pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” —1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
The consequence of prayer is, of course, an increasingly intimate relationship with God, but along with that comes responsibility. When Paul says, “Pray continually,” this involves a perpetual awareness of the presence of God, and a constant sense of communion with Him throughout our day in which we bring Him into everything we do.
Essential to the Christian life is the sustaining of our communion with God. Prayer brings knowledge of Him and from Him. It conveys our worship and love for Him as well as God’s reception to us with all He pours into our lives. What Jesus does in the Sermon on the Mount is strip us of every means of dependency outside of Himself. That is why He tells us to go into our room and close the door. Be alone with God in that secret place, because it is heart to heart with God that deepens our relationship with Him.
Prayer is the means whereby God engages us, which allows Him to work in us and through us, and that brings us into responsibility. It is not only talking to God, but listening to Him, and He will have something important to say to us. God does not have a “Plan B” for His work in this world. He uses people, and prayer is the means by which He lays on our hearts His will and direction for us. We can be sure God will have something for us to do, and it is in close communion with Him, He sets us on the path to fulfilling His agenda for us.
Prayer brings results. Throughout Scripture, there are many examples of prayer being the means by which God works through His people. In the Old Testament, prayer and repentance brought the Israelite people back into harmony with God again and again, and gave them victory after victory. In the New Testament, it was through prayer and worship that the apostles were directed and empowered to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ into the lives of both Jews and Gentiles.
Things happen when we pray. When our focus is on the eternal, the temporal falls into place, and when our focus is on heaven, the events of earth fall into right perspectives. When our focus is on the victory, we begin to experience the victory, and there is no explanation for it other than God Himself at work in our lives. However, we must not make the mistake of thinking prayer is powerful. It is God alone who is powerful and hears our prayers.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I ask that You help me be able to discern Your voice, and that through my prayers, You set me on a path to fulfilling Your agenda. Thank You, Lord.