Pray without ceasing. 1Thessalonians 5:17
One of the things that made me feel so lucky as a little girl was the fact that my Grandpa Ted owned a store. It had a gas pump out front and inside there was a grocery store and the town post office. The counter was lined with big glass jars filled with different kinds of candy but the greatest thing in the store was the pop machine. I was amazed that all you had to do was deposit a coin and then open the narrow glass door, grab the pop bottle by its top and pull it out. The biggest problem life presented at that age was trying to decide whether my brother and I were going to share a Squirt or a Root Beer. Life was simple!
Lots of years later, life isn’t always quite so simple! I’ve discovered that the days that seem to be the most complicated and crazy are usually the ones when I haven’t deposited as much into my daily prayer. I think sometimes our prayer life can be a little like Grandpa Ted’s pop machine. We simply make a little investment and expect to have God open the door so we can pull out any flavor blessing we pick. He wants more from us than a quick “shout out” when we want something or when we need Him to rescue us from the mess we’ve made by not trusting Him completely. He lovingly demands more from us. But Paul told the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing…really…how do you do that?
I think the passage is challenging us to put Christ in the forefront of our thoughts, our words and our actions; consulting him throughout the day with everything. One of my first grade lovelies said one day, “But if you pray like that won’t you run out of stuff to talk to God about?” I said “Not if you pray with WOW, OOPS, THANKS and GIMME.” You can imagine the puzzled looks that followed and so the lesson began. Each time we stop to pray, start by telling God what He’s done that is amazing. (Wow) Next ask His forgiveness for all the faults and failings of the day. Don’t forget to call them out by name. (Oops) Then have a long talk with Him about all the things you are thankful for and for all the blessings received. (Thanks) And finally, ask for His blessing on those people and situations that need Him.(Gimme) Those four words are a great starting point for personal prayer. If you cover all four each time you call upon His name in prayer, you’re not likely to run out of stuff to say and you have gotten a lot closer to “without ceasing.” God’s calling us to make more than a tiny deposit, and when we do, the blessings we’ll receive are going to be far more amazing than anything ever pulled out of Grandpa’s pop machine.
A seed to plant: Write wow, oops, thanks and gimme on a notecard. Practice praying with those 4 categories for a few days and see if you enjoy a prayer time that is more focused and fulfilling.
Copyright 2012 Sheri Wohlfert