Last Sunday morning we missed church because Baby Bro kept on sleeping and I have learned not to interrupt his sleep. My third child is not one to sleep anywhere and roll with the punches. Anyway, I took some time to retreat to our room and catch up on my Bible study that I had neglected last week and pray in the morning and then I read some in the Confessions of a Prayer Slacker book I have started reading. As I read, I noticed that the word ‘continually’ kept coming to my attention and I started to connect it with praying continually.
Psalm 16:8, NASB- I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Hebrews 13:15-16 ESV- Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
1 Thessonians 5:16-18 NIV- Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
And I was convicted about how it all works. It became crystal clear that without prayer and praying continually there is no relationship with God. God’s promises are contingent on us being continually in communication with Him, so without prayer we will not truly have the peace that passes understanding or all the sweet promises that are found in those precious pages.
As the week wore on I kept thinking about prayer and as I went through this week’s Bible study verses it became even more clear. It also became clear just how far short I fall in praying continually and keeping in touch with God. What a challenge it is and how sad to come face to face with not being good enough. No kidding, there is “none righteous, no not one.” Clearly my salvation is “by faith and not by works.” And I can say with Paul that it frustrates me that “I do what I do not want to do and I don’t do what I want to.”
I am so grateful for this study and the resources God has laid out for me. Despite my failings, he still draws me near and keeps me moving forward in relationship to Him. It really is to God be the glory.
In church this Sunday, we began studying Judges and so our pastor began with an overview of the book before he dives into the individual judges God provided to Israel. He pointed out that the cycle set on repeat was one of falling away from God, living in sin, God bringing about a judge to get the people back on track and then falling away once that judge died. One of the things he said that hit home was that the judges were committed to following God and obeying Him, no matter what. That reminded me of the continually lesson God was teaching me. Not only is there no relationship without prayer, so is there no prayer or growth without commitment to God.
That commitment must be to a relationship with God, to prayer and to complete obedience to His calling on our lives. That commitment will bring us to deeper waters that our faith could ever wander (Oceans by Hillsong United) and to unfamiliar territory, even into painful or hard circumstances. But that commitment must be there.
The longer I live I can identify with the words in Big Daddy Weave’s song My Story. I feel like that song is a testimony from a prayerful life truly committed to God. Take a listen and I hope you are blessed.