“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5:16-18)
For a long time, I have known that the shortest verse in the Bible (KJV) is, “Jesus wept.” (Jn.11:35), which seems to give it great emphasis and impact. However, I just recently I realized that there are two verses that are tied with it for length and are a great antidote for sorrow: “Rejoice always.” and “Pray continually.” If we practice these two verses they can help keep trials and sorrows from overwhelming, discouraging and depressing us. As we start a new year with COVID concerns, political shifts, anti-Christian sentiments, church decline, financial unknowns, health problems, theological wrestling’s, racial tensions, sexual confusion, loneliness and family pressures remember this great verse to help you to make those verses a way of life for you:
“These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Pe. 1:7-9)
“Herbert Spencer, a scientist, said this: ‘Whatever amount of power an organism expends in any shape is correlative [or equivalent] to a power taken into it from without.’ Similarly, our spiritual lives are determined by the power we take into them through prayer. As I have travelled the world and talked to Christians from all walks of life and all denominations, I have found that the greatest cause of spiritual apathy is the lack of prayer. Many have confessed to me, ‘Prayer is the thing above everything else that I want to master, but so often this is the place where I fail.’ You can be sure that the devil is bent on hindering everyone’s prayer life. The first thing a tiger does when it attacks an animal is to go for its throat in an attempt to cut off its air supply. Satan attempts to do the same with a Christian. By cutting off the oxygen of the Spirit that comes into the soul through prayer, he renders a person powerless.
Most of the casualties in the spiritual life have been brought down by a reduced prayer life. Prayer is pivotal. I am better or worse as I pray more or less. Dr. E. Stanley Jones said: ‘When I pray I’m like an electric bulb put into the socket, full of light and power. When I don’t pray I’m like that same bulb pulled out of the socket – no light, no power.’ In prayer our weakness is linked to God’s omnipotence, our ignorance is linked to infinite wisdom, our finite self to the one who is infinite.” (Selwyn Hugh’s devotional “Every Day with Jesus)