Pray Without Ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (ESV)

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers, pray for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Paul has a lot left to say, but as he starts to close his letter to the church at Thessalonica, he changes tack to just summaries, quick blurbs if you will. I don’t know if he was rushed, or if he was running short of room in the scroll, or if he just wanted to wrap it up.

Regardless, his advice is sound. We must respect our pastor. He serves at God’s calling and does so to teach and admonish, to lead all of us into better relationship with God. He is also there for spiritual discipline if any are in need of correction. But if a brother or sister is in need of correction, the steps for that are clearly laid out by our Lord in the Gospel of Matthew, 18:15-20.

The other pieces of advice here, which are briefly summarized, serve to enhance our relationships with others if we follow them.

Praying without ceasing - this phrase always reminds me of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Tevye spends all day in conversation with God. As the story goes, he spends a lot of time alone, delivering milk and cheese to his fellow members of the town. Despite all the issues he faces, he always maintains his conversation with God. He expresses his joys and sorrows, and leaves the solutions to God, although he does not fail to do his best as well to overcome.

I first saw Fiddler on the Roof in the 5th grade. I was attending a Catholic School, and we took a field trip to the movie theater to see it. Ever since then, I have been kind of like Tevye. When I am alone, I have the same type of conversations with God. Although God has never audibly responded to me, I know that He hears me, and He has guided my life. Looking back at how my life has gone, I can see His hand leading me and protecting me. Even when I have not gone the way I should, He has not abandoned me.

I am certain this is true for you as well. Take some time to ponder how the Lord may have guided you to where you are today. Give Him thanks and praise for all He has brought you through. If you are in the midst of troubles, give them up to Him. If you are feeling bogged down, call a fellow believer, and share, or seek their assistance. God gave us each other to help one another as well as His direct intervention.

May the Peace of Christ flow to and through each of us. May we truly build each other up, and care for each other as the family He has brought us to—His family!

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