“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you
in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
It seems to have been eons since things were ‘normal’. We continue to social distance, have areas of the world facing new lock downs, wear masks everywhere we go and watch nervously as the numbers of infected continue to rise. Yet, we are called to rejoice. How can we in such a troubled time?
When Paul wrote these words to the people of Thessalonica, they were facing persecution. Paul himself had been faced with harassment and persecution as he moved through the area, but to these people he said, rejoice.
Today his words echo down to us, “rejoice always”. And how can we rejoice?
By being ‘continually in prayer’.
When we are in prayer, we find the strength to go on. We find the power of the Spirit moving among us. It is not that the troubles of the world disappear. Indeed, in some instances they may increase, yet we are not to lose hope. Our prayers will open our minds and hearts to a peace amid chaos. It is through prayer that we can find the strength to face each new reality. Again, it is not a secret weapon that destroys all the bad in the world, but it is a comfort that builds faith and hope in our God.
While in prayer, we can ‘give thanks’. Never at any point is it easier to be thankful than when we are in conversation with our Lord. As we bow our head; take to our knees or lift our eyes to the heavens and settle into the quiet moments of prayer something happens inside of us that defies all that goes on around us. When we truly reach out to God in our hearts, our minds fill with peace and a clarity that escapes us at all other times. Prayer is that quiet moment when all becomes still and suddenly, we find ourselves in the presence of the Most High.
Paul tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances”, when we approach the world in prayerful consideration this becomes possible. When we take our eyes off the chaos and pettiness of the world, the circumstances pale in comparison to the mightiness of our God.
It is God’s will that we seek Him first. And in seeking Him first, through prayer, we begin to live righteously, and, in that righteousness, we begin to see the world through the eyes of God.
We, like Jesus, can weep over the state of the world, but we also rise with Jesus on the wings of eagles and see the majesty of the great good work God is doing in this world.
Therefore, rejoice and give thanks to God, our loving Father who is in all things.
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