16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray continually. 18 Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
You and I both know that’s easier said than done.
It’s hard to always be rejoicing, always be praying, always be giving thanks. There are days, let’s be honest, when it doesn’t feel like there’s much to celebrate or be thankful for. We might be praying, but those prayers may be reduced to, “Lord, help me get through this.”
It’s annoying to us when we share our struggles with someone and all they can say is, “look on the bright side,” with no sense that they “get” what it is you’re going through. It shows a lack of compassion and understanding.
That’s why this command to “pray continually” is so important. We might begin with “get me through this,” just as a kind of mantra to remind us that God is there, that God is with us. But we can take it deeper.
Praying continually doesn’t just mean offering God the good thoughts on your mind – the rejoicing and thanksgiving. It also means offering God your fears, your doubts, your frustrations and pains. God will always listen without judgment. God will never rush you to thanksgiving or rejoicing. But over time, God will get you there – with little reassurances that you are loved, that you matter, that you have not been forgotten.
When things are rough, there is no way through to rejoicing or thanksgiving except a whole lot of prayer.
For Pondering & Prayer
How is prayer different than talking to a friend about your troubles?
When someone shares something difficult with you, how do you tend to respond? Have you been guilty of ‘rushing’ someone to thanksgiving, as opposed to sitting with them in their pain?