intermittent faith - a thought on prayer

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There’s an intrinsic faltering about who we are as humans; a wavering, or laziness, if you will. We cease in moments of harsh truth, criticism, hatred- we also fail in times of love, joy, and grace. There’s no medium with which to scale it, we simply desist on our own accord and for our own reasons. Whether it be fear, doubt, or ignorance, we are all gripped by some lie that halts our hearts from acting. It’s a subtle detriment clothed as callowness, and coated with toxins.

I can look back at my life, the current year, the present day, and see countless times of staggering; seconds of hesitation within my heart and illusive scenes of opportunities I didn’t take. It’s an intermittent form of faith, a momentary suspension of God- a forgetfulness, that sickens my soul.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you

When we are truly passionate about something, we hold fast; we think about it, run to it, practice it, preach it. These are tangible, measurable attributes of life that we can acutely see and sustain. It’s “easier” for us to dictate what’s worth the time, and what isn’t because they are based on worldly standards and desires. If we can put forth devotion to a temporal thing, why do we find it wavered in the confines of our faith?

We are called to pray without ceasing, to dedicate, commit, and allot our entire existence to the glory of God. Do you feel the pressure? I used to. This concept has been thrown around in many conversations, and it’s reeling on my heart.

This command is twofold. It’s one of those tests you think are short and sweet, until you flip it over to find an essay question. It’s the back that get’s you, it’s the part you didn’t know was there.

Instinctive conclusion to the word “cease” is simply, stop. Therefore, it’s referral, to continuously do something. This is the direction most the conversations go, questioning what it looks like to, without fail and breath, pray to our Lord. Though beautiful, also impossible {in the literal sense of it all}.

We are not capable of complete prayer every minute of every day, as in, thoroughly and passionately speaking to our Father with full intentions of our heart- and this is the image we often get when reading “pray without ceasing.” I struggled with this concept for quite a while, criticizing my heart, judging myself on the depths of my faith- asking, if I am constantly catching myself without prayer, am I failing God?

The key to this verse is the command “pray” not “ceasing.” Prayer is what uprooted my entire identity in Christ. It is the intimacy, the devotion, the full love and inwardness that prayer brings to your relationship with the Lord that sanctifies you in your faith and gives you God as His person-hood. Prayer is your communication, your relationship, your fealty- so does it need to be a staple within your daily life and service to our Lord? Absolutely. But it is the intimacy you build through prayer, that moves through your day without ceasing.

In other words, when you leave your table, car, office, what have you, after a deep moment of prayer, your awareness of Him is intensified and active. It is burning with passion and glory, ready to serve His kingdom. Think about warming up before a sporting event. You loosen up your muscles, stretch it out, get pumped up- you are preparing for the actual game; the part that’s live, rapid, without cease. Our dedicated prayer time is meant for guidance, relationship, and wisdom of who He is- without it, are you prepared to walk into the bustling world, without full focus on Him?

So, what’s the measure? Where’s the balance?

There is an absolute goodness and necessity in specific, devoted time spent in praying to God. He desires it, requires it, and commands it. It is crucial for our hearts to spend that alone time with Him. To go to Him in vulnerability and repentance, asking for guidance and seeking anything and everything- then walking into our life fired up on who He is and trusting in Him to walk beside us. Making this a part of your every day, without fail, sets you up for continuous praying in the hustle; continuous knowledge of your faith and conviction of the sin in you and around you; continuous joy of your salvation and seeking it out in others.

To pray without ceasing means to never take God out of the driver seat. It means go to Him in prayer, first and foremost, and let Him work in your life daily. So those moments of failing, of halting in opportunities to share the gospel, of uncertainty, I was far from prayer. I hadn’t set my heart and mind on Him from the beginning, and therefore I ceased. I stopped. I forgot to put God first.

This happens.

But you know what’s amazing? We may find ourselves ceasing, but He never will

Lamentations 3:22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end