"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
All too often prayer is thought of as a formula to get God's attention. We're given tools like the acrostic – A.C.T.S. (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication) – and that becomes our daily routine. Or perhaps we make sure we have our "quiet time" every morning or evening. We approach prayer as if it's a spiritual ritual and a maintenance agreement with God. But that couldn't be further from the truth.
Jesus was asked by His disciple's to teach them to pray. His reply gives us real insight into prayer: "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Matthew 6:7, 8
This shouldn't surprise us at all. When we pray, we know the Father already knows what we need. No matter how big or little our request is, He knows. Psalm 55:22 reads, "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." Peter echoes this in his first letter. These are words of comfort to us. We can go to God with all our requests and rest assured that He hears us.
Ultimately prayer is opening our hearts to God. It allows His Word to renew our minds and conform our will to His perfect will.
Praying without ceasing is the natural response of a child of God. We trust our eternal salvation to the Lord. So how much more can we trust our daily bread to Him and Him alone.
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21
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