“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances . . .”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, NIV
How is your prayer life going these days? As Christians, we should pray unceasingly, lifting praises and intercessions to God as constantly as our lungs rise and fall with each breath. Our hearts should be so in tune with God that every occasion calls forth a petition for a need, an intercession for someone else, a confession of a sin, a word of thanksgiving, or an article of praise.
So often we pray narrowly, attending only to our own needs. Instead, we should pray broadly for everyone. We should pray for the lost that they might be saved and for the saved that they might win the lost. And if we know that someone is in need, we should lift that person before God’s throne, asking Him for help.
We also need to regularly confess our sins. Do you keep short accounts with God or store up great debts of sin? Do you forget to confess many of your sins? Do you confess your sins of commission but forget your sins of omission? Do you confess wrong deeds but forget the thoughts that breed them? Do you confess sins of the tongue such as gossip and unkind words? Do you confess sins of poor attitudes such as coldness, lack of love, thoughtlessness, and unconcern?
And what about thanksgiving? When was the last time you counted your blessings and thanked God for each one: family, friends, shelter, daily bread, liberty, salvation?
How about praise and adoration, the graduate school of prayer? Do you praise God not only for what He has done for you but also for who He is? Do you tell God how much you appreciate His wisdom and power, His justice and mercy, His omnipotence and omniscience, all that He is and ever shall be?
I hope this little reminder will help you to pray more effectively. Start today by praying in a way you haven’t prayed for a long while. Perhaps you need to clear your slate with God through confession, or maybe you need to spend time thanking Him for bestowing blessings on you. Prayer is such a great privilege, and I hope you’ll engage in it wholeheartedly with every breath you take.