The Necessity of Prayer

The Necessity of Prayer

(an excerpt from "Faith Sprinkles" lesson one)
 
Focus Verses
 
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (NKJV) 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 


 History  
 
The author of this verse, the apostle Paul, spent much of his life as a “missionary.”  To both enable him to convert as many people as possible and temporarily avoid his Jewish enemies, Paul usually did not stay in any one place for very long. Such is the case when he visited Thessalonica.  The apostle typically stayed in an area long enough to preach the good news and then he usually moved on.  After he left an area, he would typically write letters to keep in touch with the new converts he left behind.  I and 2 Thessalonians are such letters.  
 
Our focus verses for today are a reminder to the new Christians at Thessalonica about the importance of prayer.  Paul understood how vital it was for Christians to stay in continuous communication with their Heavenly Father.  He knew the power of prayer would keep these new converts strong.   
 
Paul had experienced first-hand the power of prayer.  It was through continuous prayer that Paul maintained the ability to feel God’s peace and joy even in uncertain times.  Paul wanted these new Christians to experience the same.   
Our Heavenly Father wants to stay connected to us!  He wants each one of us to understand the power of continuous prayer!  This devotion is written to inspire us to pray - even when we don’t quite know how.  


Focus Words
 
Pray - to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship
 
Without Ceasing - unceasingly, without remission. 
 
In - in, on, among
 
Give thanks - to be thankful, return thanks
 
The will - will, wish, desire, an act of will
 
Connection to Us
 
We read in our focus verses about the importance of prayer.  Paul understood prayer’s power.  He experienced it first-hand.  Because of prayer, Paul was filled with peace even during the most turbulent times.  There are scriptures documenting Paul singing praises to God even from a prison cell! 
 
Acts 16:23-25 (NKJV) 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.  24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 
 
Paul had just been beaten and thrown in prison and yet he was still filled with joy!  This is powerful!  This is evidence of PRAYER! 
 
If prayer fills us with joy and keeps us connected with our Heavenly Father, why is it sometimes so difficult for us to pray?  For me, I often feel like I am doing it wrong, so I sometimes simply don’t do it.  I sometimes feel like my prayers are not worthy enough for God to hear.  I wrongly tell myself that my prayers are not eloquent enough to say to anyone - let alone to the Lord of the Universe. Because of my ill-founded thoughts, oftentimes I simply do not pray - which is just SILLY! 
 
As I reflected upon this silliness, my mind made a funny connection.  I began to think of other things in my life that are vital and which I use without second guessing my usage of, and my mind instantly thought of toilet paper.  I hope this tongue-in-cheek connection will help you and I both to begin a NEW SEASON of PRAYING without ceasing  
 
Like my personal issues regarding the “correctness” of my prayers, many people actually have issues regarding the “correctness” of hanging toilet tissue! 


Did you know some of the biggest debates in history have occurred over TOILET PAPER???  Countless arguments and heated discussions have been documented about which way the much - needed tissue should HANG on its holder.  Marriages have CRUMBLED!!!  Cities have COLLAPSED!!!! Proper tissue use is such a HUGE issue - it even has its own Wikipedia article!! 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_paper_orientation


Advice columns have even been written about the subject.  Ann Landers said that the topic of toilet paper hanging was the most heated issue ever in her column's history.  


As I am reading all of this, I had a VERY DEEP AND IMPORTANT OBSERVATION…Even though people do NOT always agree about the proper METHOD and HANGING of toilet paper - EVERYONE STILL USES IT!!!! 


NOBODY I know lets these hanging “details” stop them from using toilet paper!!!! 


This realization brings me to a question: 
Why isn’t it the same with our PRAYER LIVES????? 
TOILET PAPER is NO more IMPORTANT and NO more NEEDED than PRAYER!!! So, why do we sometimes let the “details” STOP us from praying??? Why do we get so caught up debating (with OURSELVES) the PROPER ways and TIMES to pray - that we end up NOT PRAYING AT ALL!!!!??? 


We get so worried about doing it wrong, so we just DON’T DO IT!!!!! 
Now - Let’s relate this ISSUE to our tissue… 
What IF we did THIS with our toilet paper, my friends!!!!????!!!! 
What IF we got SO caught up in “doing” it properly that we just STOPPED doing it? 
What if we discontinued WIPING altogether!!!!!???!!!! 
I am laughing as I am considering this, BUT through This (t)ISSUE, I have learned an important lesson…  I get TOO caught up in the details!!  The Lord of the Universe has given me FREE access to talk to Him anytime I want to or NEED to!!! I need to STOP concerning myself with thoughts that my prayers aren’t LONG enough, or ELOQUENT enough, or that my prayers may not have all the REQUIRED parts - I just need to PRAY!!!! 


The prayer “roll” is hanging right there in front of me - and sometimes I DON’T “WIPE”.  I spend A LOT of time thinking about WIPING - planning my WIPING, feeling guilty about NOT wiping - WHEN I should just GRAB the “ROLL” and WIPE!!!! 


What are your thoughts???? 

As you reflect upon today's focus verse, I encourage you to spend some quiet time at the fet of Jesus PRAYING :)

To help you to sit quietly, here is a meditative art page for you to color: