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Unceasing and Persistent

Be unceasing and persistent in prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 AMP

 

Access to online Bibles makes it easy to compare what the same verse says in different translations. For example, today's verse in the New International Version says, "Pray continually." The New Revised Standard Version says, "Pray without ceasing." But I like this translation from the Amplified Bible: "Be unceasing and persistent in prayer." We are to practice both of these things in our prayers.


What does it mean to pray without ceasing? Are we to spend all day long in prayer? Well, yes and no. We are not expected to spend the entire day in constant prayer. For example, think of how it would be to say the Lord's Prayer from when we wake to when we sleep. It's not very practical and, in honesty, would shortly become rote and without meaning, defeating the purpose of the prayer. But we can remain in a constant attitude of communication with God.  


It is essential to set aside time each day dedicated to prayer and reflection, but also, throughout the day, pause and lift our concern to God as situations arise. God's prayer line is open 24x7, 365 days a year. Whenever we hear an emergency vehicle pass, pray for the people in danger and the first responders. When we get a call from a friend who is sick, there is no need to wait for formal prayer, but lift their need to God immediately (and add them to your prayer list). No formal words need to be spoken aloud with the poetic "Thee's" and "Thou's"; a quick, earnest, silent prayer has the same effect.  


So far, we've talked about being unceasing in prayer, but what about being persistent? In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge. Though the judge didn't care about justice for the woman, he eventually yielded to her request because of her persistence. Jesus uses this story to teach us always to pray and never give up. If an uncaring, unfit judge can eventually respond to the widow's persistence, how much more will a loving and holy Father answer His children's prayers?


Effective prayer requires tenacity and faithfulness. We trust that God will answer in His time and His way. But we must keep asking, seeking, knocking, and praying—never giving up. This persistence does not show we doubt God will answer but that we are persistent in our faith that He will answer.


Heavenly Father, we come before You with hearts open wide, seeking Your presence. Your Word instructs us to be unceasing and persistent in prayer. Today, we embrace this call with faith and humility.


Lord, teach us to pray continually. May our words rise like incense, reaching Your throne day and night. Let our hearts remain connected to You in moments of joy and sorrow, triumphs and trials. Whether in whispered petitions or bold declarations, may our prayers be unceasing. 


May our persistence be a fragrant offering. When answers seem delayed, grant us patience. When doubts assail us, strengthen our faith. When our hearts ache, remind us that You are our refuge. 


In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Blessings,

Pastor Tim



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