“Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
During our prayers the other night, my youngest daughter asked me what the word amen was. I explained that it meant, “indeed” or “yes, so be it.” She then asked why we said it at the end of a prayer, to which I replied, “It kind of closes the prayer.” She responded with, “Well, I talk to Jesus all of the time, so I guess I shouldn’t say that.”
She made so much sense with her youthful way of looking at it. The Bible said that we should continually pray. That doesn’t mean that all we should hit our knees begging God for things all day. Quite the contrary. Prayers don’t have to be asking for things all the time. In fact, the Bible says that our Heavenly Father knows what we need before we do. Prayers should be more about giving thanks to the one that made all of our blessings possible.
We should thank God with everything we do. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Those are great words to live by. All of our actions should be with the intent of honoring God. We should have Christ in mind before we do anything in our lives. As Christians, the Holy Spirit is living in us and through us in everything we do. We can’t separate Him from us, not even for a little while. You are never alone and nothing you do is done in private. When you sin, you sin with God watching you do it. Conversely, when you do good deeds, God sees those too and what God sees in private He shall reward you for openly. Each action from us is another prayer getting sent up to Him. Our prayers never truly end, so take care to make them grateful and not spiteful.
I heard the old saying again today about God giving us two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as much as we speak. Our prayers should be more listening rather than asking, but it’s OK to ask for things. Yes, God knows what we need even before we do, but it’s still respectful to ask. I know my children need food and clothes, but it’s nice to hear a please now and then. My kids mess up occasionally and of course I forgive them, but it’s showing their maturity and responsibility when they say that they are sorry.
Another thing is that out of a healthy fear and awe for the Lord, we normally pray looking down at our hands or the floor. That’s OK, but whenever my kids come up to me with their head down, I know they did something wrong. Try it sometime. Go up to your spouse or parents and tell them you love them, but look down at the ground while doing it or even kneel at the same time. See what reaction you get. What I’m trying to say is that God is our Father and He loves us very much. When we praise Him, look up. Why shouldn’t we sing, shout, or raise our hands for joy? We have a lot to praise Him for. God’s face shining upon us shows His favor and caring for us. Why shouldn’t we show God our face as well?
Just as written in the Psalms, “Let my prayer be set forth before you as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” (141:2) Our prayers are like offerings to God, showing Him that we keep Him and His Word on our minds and in our hearts. So next time you say your prayers, don’t say “Amen” with the thought that the prayer has ended. Say “Amen” with passion, thereby accentuating every word that was said. We should pray without ceasing, remembering all the day long that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us, cares for us, and who wants us to be with Him forever.
God’s blessings to you.