Posted by: Derek Guyer | November 17, 2008

ROTH Challenge #1


Verse of the week:

“…pray continually…”

I Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)

This verse is discussed and debated in churches all over the country. It’s tough, because no one has the time to be on their knees in their closets praying through the waking hours of their days. And I don’t think that’s what Paul meant. I don’t think he was encouraging a monastic lifestyle.

I think Paul was encouraging a lifestyle of submission to God’s perfect will. He wanted all men to understand that God’s ways were higher than our ways and the pursuit of those ways through continuous prayer would in fact draw us closer to God. 

How many of us could use some prayer time as we’re talking with our co-workers just to avoid conversation that is ungodly? How many of us need more patience in dealing with our spouse or our children and need to, in the moment, stop and pray for patience, silently or out-loud? How many of us when talking with someone who is upset or hurting lack the words and need guidance from God in how to help that person? What if we asked for the words?

Imagine for just one second the difference it would make if you did in fact pray continually. What if you stopped in the middle of an argument with your spouse and asked if the two of you could pray? What if you weren’t willing to say another word without clarity, peace, and God’s will? That might change things very quickly, huh?

What about the next time you have an hour window and a list of twenty things you need to get done? Have you ever asked God to show you what was most important to Him for you to finish first? What if he wanted you to stop all of it and help someone else? If you weren’t in the mindset to pray, would you do any of it at all? 

What if you set an alarm on your phone or your watch for every hour so that you could stop and just praise God for a few minutes? You could praise Him for His provisions or His power. You could honor Him for giving you your spouse or your job. You could just thank Him. How might that change your mindset, your peace, and even your life?

That’s what he wants. He wants every day, every hour, and every minute of your time. That doesn’t mean he wants you to stop living. Rather, I’d say He wants you to live only inside His perfect will. How will you know it if you aren’t constantly in conversation with Him. Seek Him. You will find. Ask. It will be given to you. Knock. He’ll open the door. Talk to him.

 

Spend the next week on your own, as a couple, as a family, and even with your church, praying at every turn. Let the posture of your heart constantly be bowing. Then tell us how it affected things. Tell us what changed and what didn’t. If you forgot, tell us. The rest of us can be praying for you. Report back over the next few days how “praying continually” has changed you.  

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Responses

  1. Hey Brother!
    This one really hits home.
    This has been the “20/20 hindsight” struggle for me. I usually wait until things get too far out of hand and then go: “Man, I wish I would have prayed about this sooner!” Or sometimes I will go through most of my day at work and suddenly realize that I haven’t talked to God all day!
    This is a great challenge Derek! I plan on applying it immediately!

    LET THE CHALLENGE BEGIN!

  2. I’m really looking forward to this challenge. Prayer is my favorite study. I have always thought of this verse meaning that prayer, whether in rejoicing or or supplication, should be our first thought not our last resort. This challenge is already helping me at work because it has made me stop and pray before getting upset or frustrated over something. Thank you for this challenge. Oh and I have already got the verse memorized. :o)

  3. I’m really glad to hear this one is hitting home for the two of you. I know it is for me as well. I’ve found myself in a state of praise more consistently through this one. This is something I’ve really needed

    Faye, I wondered if you’d get this one memorized or not but am proud of you for working so hard to get it committed to memory. 😉

  4. i can’t believe what a difference this made in my heart in just 24 hours! stopping to pray throughout the day just makes me want to talk and confess and praise God even more. i put the verse on Post-It Notes throughout the house…even the fridge, lol. At least when I see ’em I remember to say a prayer at that moment or shortly after.

  5. Like Julie said, it is amazing what can happen in one day!
    With me, the fact that I am challenged makes me think about praying more. I have really been doing more “quick silent prayers” at work when dealing with my co-workers.

  6. I think it’s great that you guys are getting so much out of this!

    I am taking a different approach to it. Instead of using the verse to remind myself to take the time to pray, I am using it more to remind me that I should be seeking out God’s will constantly. So instead of just planning my day out ahead of time and blindly following that plan, I find myself planning my day out, but asking God to change whatever needs to be changed so that it works alongside His will for me.

    It’s awesome to have what I think is a pretty good plan for my day turn into an even better plan for it! God’s ways are amazing!!

    Isn’t it neat how a two-word verse can mean one thing to one person and something very different to another? Just another way that God speaks to us individually through His word.

  7. truth is power so here’s mine: it’s easy to be tempted to turn to alcohol when i’m stressed, whether by my art or people or finances or whatever….however, if i am praying continually throughout my day then i don’t want or need to do that…bc then i am much more intimate with God…i want my prayers heard….i want to be my best for Him.

  8. What a great insight, Julie. Thanks for being honest.

    I’m seeing a far more bold side of myself coming out through this week. I’ve had some amazingly lead moments where God has allowed me to talk with people when I was least expecting it. Two of them happened today and both guys agreed to meet up and talk more about their relationships with God and study. It was awesome to see Him using me because I was looking for what He wanted.

    I just keep realizing I need to deny myself and get out of the way so that he can shine…and he’s doing it.

  9. A few days before we received this challenge, I had been explaining to my husband, Jason that I felt so close to Christ and I believe it is because I have so much quiet time during the day being blessed as an at-home-mom with kids in school. I spend this time in what I call, “silent conversation with God and thought prayers.” I include Him in my thoughts, daily chores and activities throughout my entire day. It’s amazing how easy and natural it is once it becomes a habit!

    In the morning, I wake up and take a few minutes to ask God “How I can serve Him today?” These habits, (which are very new for me in the past few months) have made a major impact in my life and in our marriage. I glorify God in my daily activities, I take time to thank Him for all our blessings, I enjoy the beauty of our natural surroundings, I praise Him by listening to Christian music and I silently tell Him how much I appreciate the provisions He has provided for our family.

    It’s been very encouraging to have this challenge and be reminded to put Christ first and glorify Him in all that we do, no matter how mundane life can be! And it’s brought Jason and I closer by asking each other if we have been “praying continuously.” Keep on prayin’ and God Bless you all for doing so!

  10. I have always had a problem with blurting things out to my husband or to my children. It sometimes just comes out – good or bad, encouraging or tearing down… didn’t matter. I have been praying before I speak anything… well most of the time I have been…

    James 1:26
    If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.

    This verse has really hit me the past few weeks – so to pray continually in this challange has been a great reminder and a great resource in trying to accomplish ‘taming my tongue’.

    Love to all!
    Cari


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