Ever had it happen to you, when some well-meaning person has listened to your story of woe and then answers you “pray about it.” Much as it is annoying when you personally want answers straight away, it is actually the best advice. In 1 Thes 5:16-18 we are told:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Worship, prayer and giving thanks in all circumstances is a good strategy in times of trouble. Purposefully engaging in worship, prayer and spending time thanking the Lord, helps keep our faith strong. But I cannot imagine what it would be like to pray continually, never taking a moment to eat, have conversation, or do anything else with you mouth but pray.
I think the point Paul is making is to continually BE praying, staying in the presence of God in all circumstances, communing with Him in a deep and intimate relationship. This would be what Paul meant in Eph 6:18 “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests,” and Col 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Again though, I cannot think what to be praying about to be described as continually praying. But recently, I had a breakthrough in my thinking, it is simply to:
Pray about everything.
Everything in your life: your plans for today; the things you need to do; the people: like family; friends; contacts. Work situations; ministry responsibilities; your marriage; health challenges; finances. In fact, everything that is part of your life. But I do, I thought…
Then my attention was drawn to Jesus, who always leads by example. He set aside His divinity, to come in human form (Phil 2:6-7), choosing to live in complete dependence on the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. Everything Jesus did on earth, He did in human form, not as God and so, was limited in His power. He knew that He had to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill His purpose here on earth.
Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (John 5:19)
Jesus did everything in the power of the Holy Spirit, not His own power. To do this, we regularly see Jesus withdrawing to pray in the gospels: to a mountainside, to a quiet place, to a solitary place, early in the morning, late at night, through the night etc. Jesus continually prayed about everything He was involved in. If Jesus in His human form, felt the need to pray about everything, why am I not praying?
Then when Jesus prayed, the Holy Spirit helped Him: He healed, He taught, He drove out demons, He even went to the cross with the Holy Spirit’s help. When Jesus prayed, the power of the Holy Spirit was released in His life. Jesus understood that He could do nothing without the Spirits help and to access the Spirits help in everything, Jesus prayed. About everything.
All of us have natural abilities and talents, and some of us have trained and learnt at institutions to do certain things very well. When we go out to do something, we perform quite well and achieve quite well in our lives. There is much that we can do in our own power and strength.
The problem is that we rely on our own power and strength and predictably never see results that go beyond our own abilities. However, if we learn to pray about everything in our lives, we access the operation of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we now have all the power of God the Holy Spirit available to us and we can expect supernatural results in all we do.
Pray about everything.
If God shows you to do something different, obey Him and expect God to show up in His power. Spend more time in prayer, take the time to talk to Him about everything and wait to see where He leads you. I don’t know about you, but I want to see God move in my life. I want to see Him touch my life and the lives of people around me to bring about healing, restoration, victory, joy and deliverance. I don’t want to rely on my own abilities and strengths to fulfill my purpose because I know that I am not up to the task. But in reliance with the Holy Spirit, I can see the impossible happen in my life.
Pray about everything.
Thank you, Father, that You have sent the Holy Spirit to live inside us and be with us. Thank you, Jesus, for sending the Holy Spirit to us so that we can live in dependence on the Holy Spirit, just as you depended on Him while You were on earth. Help me to commit my life to You daily in prayer, to rely on your guidance and empowerment in all I do. Thank you that I will see your supernatural touch in my life as I commit it to You.