Sunday, June 2, 2013

Without Ceasing

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:17)

If this is a command, it's impossible to obey—one more thing that makes us feel shame--without ceasing.   

But what if we turned this around and concentrated on how God is present without ceasing, going beyond conversation to deep communion with our spirit?

Think of the God who is always in touch with the deepest part of us, guiding us, healing us, whispering to our hearts his word of affection and wisdom.

This isn’t a command. It’s a gift without ceasing.

The psalmist said it this way:

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

                                                                              --Psalm 139:1-10


  1. Pastor,
    Does the pairing of this Psalm with the quote from Thessalonians mean that because God knows our every thought before we conceive it, every action before we are in motion - are you teaching that if we live our lives and keep our hearts pure, we are praying without ceasing? Is that what the bible is saying?
    Does it mean that because our existence is so transparent to God, that to live with love in our hearts for our fellow man, for the planet, for God's creatures our lives can aspire to be prayers without ceasing?
    Or did I miss the meaning?

    1. Hi Debbie. God has taken the initiative in this communion. Whether we try or not, whatever our thoughts and feelings may be, God is within and around us. There is no condition to meet. God is already there.

      Communion goes much deeper than articulating a specific thought. It is a mingling of spirits. I spend more and more of my prayer life simply trying to become aware of the presence that is already there.

  2. Okay, thank you - I like that there is no "condition" to meet - that God's presence is as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe.
    Thanks Pastor.