Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19)
For some time now, my prayers have been pitiful. I’m not really sure if you can call them prayers at all. When is it prayer and when is it just wishful thinking? Worrying? Complaining?
I look for words of advice in Scripture. Here (in the passage above), Paul connects prayer with rejoicing, giving thanks. What will I rejoice over today?
…. the beauty of an early Spring day.
… a bowl of honey-nut cheerios and warm cup of coffee.
… the promise that God listens to even the most pitiful prayers.
Prayer is to give thanks in all circumstances.
… for my family, even though they are miles away.
… for job prospects, though I am currently unemployed.
… for relative health, even with a chronic illness.
As C.S. Lewis writes, saying our prayers is like studying grammar. It may seem pointless in the present, but over time we grow in our relationship with the One to whom we pray such that we can more fully experience abundant life – the joy, the peace, the love – we can only receive from God.