Closing the Gap 6.11.18

Week 23 “Pray Constantly” Day 1

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

1 Thess. 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Reflect:

It is God’s will that you “be joyful always,” “pray continually,” and “give thanks in all circumstances.”  Surely this means we will often live our lives outside the will of God because after all who can accomplish these lofty goals?  We are sometimes joyful, sometimes prayerful, and sometimes thankful. So, is this a goal we aim for which is clearly unattainable?  Is this a rebuke for how often we fall short of the will of God? Not at all. It is possible, even for a regular Christian (like you), to live a life of “always, continually, and in all circumstances.”  First, it is important to understand what these words imply. To be joyful always does not mean you will always “feel” a certain way.  Jesus for the “joy set before him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). There is no question that he did not feel what we would normally call joy in the moments of his suffering.  But it was the reality of joy that took him to the cross. His joy was a settled inner disposition that flowed from his relationship with God the Father. He had lived so well and for so long in relationship with God the Father that his heart was “trained for joy.”  But his joy was also a choice. He chose to move continually into the joy that is available to all who live in continual fellowship with God. So, “joyful always” and “pray continually” are two sides of single coin. When we live in a conversational relationship with God, we live in his joy.  When we live in his joy, we will live in a conversational relationship with God. To experience his joy and to be able to live in his presence continually are both his gifts to us and our choices in regard to him. We are told to accomplish these things…”be joyful” and “pray continually.” We are not told to merely wait for them to be done to us or for us.  Close the gap on where you are right now and where you (and God) want you to be. Do not merely regret how far you might be from continual joy and prayer. Move a step closer today to this lifestyle. God is offering it to you. Will you take him up on his offer and practice his presence starting today?

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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